It’s time for girls to be seen and heard, says Plan International Canada on International Day of the Girl
Plan International Canada, the team behind the groundbreaking Because I am a Girl movement, is fuelling the groundswell of girls who are declaring that they belong in leadership positions across political, economic and business sectors here in Canada and globally on International Day of the Girl, October 11th.
Ahead of the fifth International Day of the Girl, Canadian leaders accepted the challenge to let girls take the lead for a day. Across the country, a diverse group of remarkable Canadian girls are filling these high profile decision-making seats to illustrate every girl’s right to equal opportunities.
“We can realize the world that we dream of – but only when half of the population is no longer left behind. We keep telling girls that they’re capable of anything, so let’s truly give them the opportunity to be seen and heard,” said Caroline Riseboro, President and CEO, Plan International Canada, who is one of the leaders giving up her seat for the day. “We are impressed that so many Canadian leaders believe in these girls and have stepped up to provide these powerful opportunities for International Day of the Girl.”
Globally, millions of girls still bear the brunt of poverty, are denied an education, forced into marriage and face violence because they are young and female. The majority of the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty are girls and women. More than 62 million girls around the world remain not in school. Each year, 15 million girls under 18 will be married and 16 million girls ages 15-19 will give birth. Worldwide, the proportion of women in parliament is only 22 per cent. Girls know that these barriers that prevent them from realizing their inherent potential to lead need to be torn down.
The Canadian #GirlsBelongHere initiative is part of a global movement, with over 150 leadership roles being filled by girls in over 50 countries; including positions such as the President of Nepal and the Mayor of Paris. These girls are making their voices heard, and while in their seat, will contribute to meaningful decisions that affect everyone.
Girls and women belong in the seats of classrooms, boardrooms, senates, courtrooms, press rooms and corner offices. They belong on the playing field, in the film director’s chair and in laboratories. #GirlsBelongHere and everywhere else where decisions are made.
Here is the full list of Canadian leaders who are giving up their seats for International Day of the Girl:
- Caroline Riseboro, President and CEO of Plan International Canada
- The Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie
- The Honourable Minister Patricia Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women
- The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
- The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
- The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism (Waterloo)
- Michael Grant, Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations in NYC
- Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet, NDP Whip
- Rachael Harder, Conservative MP for Lethbridge and Critic for Youth and Persons with Disabilities
- Pino Buffone, Superintendent of Instruction, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
- Dr. Jennifer Adams, Director of Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
- Robert Witchel, Executive Director of Jays Care Foundation
About International Day of the Girl
In 2009, Plan International Canada led an extensive two-year campaign that engaged thousands of Canadians in a call for an International Day of the Girl as part of the Because I am a Girl, a global initiative to end gender inequality and recognize girls’ rights as human rights. In December 2011, following unanimous all-party support of the Canadian Parliament and support from the United Nations, October 11 was officially declared the International Day of the Girl.
About Plan International Canada and the Because I am a Girl initiative
Founded in 1937, Plan International is one of the world’s oldest and largest international development agencies, working in partnership with millions of people around the world to end global poverty. Not for profit, independent and inclusive of all faiths and cultures, Plan International strives for a just world that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. Because I am a Girl is Plan International’s global movement to transform power relations so that girls everywhere can learn, lead, decide and thrive.