To commemorate International Day of the Girl on October 11, a UN-declared international observance day to support greater opportunities for girls and end gender discrimination, girls will step into the roles of influential leaders and change-makers across the world in a series of takeovers. From India to Canada, girls will stage over 200 historic “takeovers” in more than 50 countries as they become Presidents, Mayors, Senior Directors and TV presenters for a day to raise their voice for justice and equality. By occupying spaces and places where they are rarely seen or heard, girls will draw attention to gender inequality and claim their rights.
In India, girls in the age group of 13-25 years from marginalised communities will perform various roles like managing traffic, editing a newspaper, taking over as RJ, as village sarpanchs, school principals and as a senior manager in the corporate sector.
In Delhi, Yasmin a 20 year old undergraduate student will take over the role of a senior manager of a global pharmaceutical company, Daiichi Sankyo, for one day.
Shatabdi, a 15 year old girl from Delhi is representing India in Spain’s celebration of International Day of the Girl where she will hold discussions with political representatives at the National Parliament, Spanish Youth Committee and with school children to promote equality for girls worldwide. She will also be participating in a takeover of the Madrid City Hall, Spanish Cinema Institute, Justice Court, Radio Station and Plan International Office for one day.
Sixteen year old Ruby who will take over as radio jockey for Radio Mirchi, 23 year old Sunita will take over as an editor of a national newspaper and 100 girls will manage traffic at 4 major locations in Delhi.
In addition to these, 10 metro stations in Delhi will have signage and people will be requested to pledge their support for a safe Delhi. The metro stations include Rajiv Chowk, New Delhi, Chawri Bazar, Chandni Chowk, Kashmere Gate, Uttam Nagar East, Janak Puri West, Anand Vihar, Vishwavidyalaya and Shahdara.
“Young people have a fundamental right and plenty of innovative ideas to be valuable and contributing members in decision-making. The more that we work with governments, in corporate environments and in development, the faster we will make change happen,” said 20-year-old Yasmin, from Delhi, who took over Daiichi Sankyo.
Girls from other parts of India will also play key roles in order to raise awareness on gender related issues. 13 year old Bhavani will become ACP and take over a police station in Hyderabad, 14 year old Shivangi will act as a Sashastra Seema Bal Assistant Commandant at the Indo-Nepal Border in Sonauli, while 10 girls will act as Sarpanchs of villages and the headmistress of schools located in the Maharajganj district of Uttar Pradesh for a day.
The global action is being staged as part of Plan International’s “Because I am a Girl” campaign which advocates for all girls to have power and freedom to learn, lead, decide and thrive.
“Securing girls rights is a critical social justice issue of our time. It is our responsibility to create an environment that will enable every girl to fulfil her dreams. Through the takeovers and by occupying spaces and places where they are rarely seen or heard, girls will seek to highlight the challenges they face and represent their power and determination to build a more equal world that values girls, promotes their rights and ends injustice,” said Bhagyashri Dengle, Executive Director, Plan India.
Apart from India, girls’ takeover events are being done across the world. This includes taking over the role as Director General of UN Office in Geneva, President of Nepal, Mayor of Dublin, Minister of Status of Women in Canada, Headmaster of a school in China and Japan, Minister of Human Rights in Pakistan, Vice President of Talent and Development of Robi Axiata Ltd. in Bangladesh, Minister of Education in Egypt, Deputy Commissioner of Department of Police in Zimbabwe, take over a position in MSNBC and Nickelodeon in USA, Vice Minister of Education in Timor Leste, Minister of Manpower and Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection in Indonesia, President of the National Assembly, to name a few.
Achieving gender equality is one of the Global Goals that were agreed by world leaders in 2015 and which promises to transform the world by 2030.This is the fifth International Day of the Girl and Plan International stands up for equality and works together to create opportunities for girls to engage in spaces where they are traditionally not seen or heard to illustrate every girl’s right to equal opportunities.