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Girl Changemakers Took over the positions of Power and Leadership on International Day of the Girl

International Day of the Girl (IDG), October 11, is an UN-declared international observance day to support greater opportunities for girls and awareness of gender discrimination they endure worldwide. In 2011, Plan led the global effort to build a coalition of support behind the Day of the Girl, securing support from the Canadian government which took our call all the way to the United Nations. Since then, Plan India has always placed a big emphasis on International Day of the Girls and brought forth new and innovative ideas and activities to highlight the day. In 2016, the year that heralded the first-ever Girls’ Takeovers, thousands of girls in India and the world had taken over positions of power. 

This year, on IDG, Plan India’s 45 Girl Changemakers from across India took over leadership positions of Ambassadors, High Commissioners across Diplomatic Missions, Corporates, and Government bodies for the day. Through these symbolic takeovers, these highly determined gender champions smashed gender stereotypes, encouraged positive discourses, called out on discriminatory social norms, and mobilized supporters for a gender-equal society. The Takeovers focussed on the theme of #EqualForBetter calling to ensure that girls have equal access to education, health, financial inclusion, digital literacy, and greater representation in the decision-making process.

Hailing from 9 Indian states-Bihar, Delhi, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand the Girl Changemakers interacted with Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Deputy Chiefs of Mission, CEOs, Head of Government Institutions, and local bodies to raise the issue of equal access to education, health, financial inclusion, digital literacy. They demanded greater representation of girls and young women in the decision-making process and engaged in discussions on girls’ rights and gender equality bringing their keen insight and perspectives to the table.

Ambassador of Sweden Mr. Klas Molin in conversation with Plan India’s Girl Changemaker

At the national level, the Takeovers included platforms of Delegation of the European Union, Australian High Commission, Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium, High Commission of Canada, Embassy of the Czech Republic, Embassy of Finland, Embassy of Israel, Embassy of Ireland, Embassy of Latvia, Embassy of Lithuania, Embassy of Mexico, Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia, Embassy of Sweden and the Embassy of Switzerland, German Embassy, Embassy of Estonia; Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the corporates H&M (Hennes & Mauritz Retail Private Limited) AstraZeneca,and AXA XL.

Plan India’s Girl Changemakers on takeover mission 

Mr. Mohammed Asif, Executive Director, Plan India, said, “I believe that each and every girl has the potential to succeed in areas that she chooses to. What holds her back are gender barriers that bring forth social and economic challenges towards her participation. Initiatives such as Girls’ Takeover’ facilitate the coming together of allies and girls to further the mandate of gender equality and address these issues. Though symbolic in nature, by occupying such positions of power the Girl Changemakers are able to amplify their voice to a larger audience. It also serves as an inspiration for them as they go about planning for their career and a prominent role in society. 

Girl Changemaker, Pushpa from Uttar Pradesh, while sharing her story said “I believe violence against women and child marriage is an impediment to the development of girls and in turn, our society. I saw a street play (nukkad natak) two years back which played a pivotal role in shaping my work on gender rights today. In this street play, I saw a 14-year girl who lost herself and her life to early marriage. I made it my aim to educate girls and their family members through discussions and street play to generate awareness on gender rights. I have been associated with Plan India for six years and I am an active member of the youth and adolescents’ group. Having trained many girls in school on self-defense, I have generated awareness amongst 3000 girls on menstrual hygiene management, child marriage, and child labour in my village and school. 

She further added, “I believe investment in education, nutrition, and health will guide the efforts on gender equality. For a gender-equal world, government and community both are responsible and have to work together.”

Girl Changemaker, Anjali, who took over the Embassy of Belgium while sharing her story said, “I firmly believe that in a gender-equal world, people would neither be compared nor discriminated against on the basis of their gender. Equality is for everyone and with this motivation, I have been working with Plan India’s youth groups for over five years. I provide credence to this community of youth groups for providing an enabling environment for women to feel safe and receive knowledge to be successful in their adopted career paths.”

She further added, “I aspire to continue serving the community and work on women empowerment. I love seeking knowledge and want to become an IPS Officer (Indian Police Services). I believe that women, especially the ones living in villages are inspired to make a positive difference within their lives despite their restrictive social environment. If we provide equal opportunities to women we can give them the required push to achieve great things in life as the strong drive for success is innately present within them.”

Ms. Orly Goldschmidt, Head of Public Diplomacy, Embassy of Israel in India, “It was our great pleasure to collaborate with Plan India on such an important campaign. We were very happy to welcome Samta in our Embassy. She is a bright, young girl, with lots of dreams and ambitions. Interacting with her and getting to know her was inspiring. I wish her all the best for her future endeavours.”

 

Plan India’s Girl Changemakers on takeover mission 

About Plan India

Plan India is a nationally registered not-for-profit organisation striving to advance children’s rights and equality for girls, thus creating a lasting impact in the lives of vulnerable and excluded children and their communities. Since 1979, Plan India and its partners have improved the lives of millions of children and young people by enabling them access to protection, quality education, and healthcare services, a healthy environment, livelihood opportunities, and participation in decisions that affect their lives.

Plan India is a member of the Plan International Federation, an independent development and humanitarian organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. Plan International is active in more than 70 countries.

To know more about IDG 2021, click here

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Plan India

Plan India is a nationally registered not-for-profit organisation striving to advance children’s rights and equality for girls, thus creating a lasting impact in the lives of vulnerable and excluded children and their communities