Girls take over leadership roles again in Plan’s #GirlsTakeover

The theme last year was the impact of knowledge on equality.

Kuusi nuorta tyttöä Planin t-paidoissa seisoo rappusissa ja poseeraa kameralle. Kuvan päällä #GirlsTakeover-logo

Girls around the world step into the boots of political, social and economic leaders as part of the celebration of the international Day of the Girl (11 October). Last year, Plan International’s #GirlsTakeover highlighted the impact of knowledge on equality.

Last year marked the fifth time that Plan International’s #GirlsTakeover has been arranged in Finland.

16-year-old Nella Salminen was serving as the coworker of the President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö in the campaign. In addition, this year, Plan International Finland’s young representatives took over the positions of President at Sitra Jyrki Katainen, Editor-in-Chief at Yle Jouko Jokinen, President and CEO at Bayer Nordic Miriam Holstein, President and CEO at Neste Peter Vanacker and CEO at Duunitori Thomas Grönholm.

The theme of #GirlsTakeover last year was the impact of reliable knowledge on the achievement of equality.

In each takeover, the theme was covered slightly differently. In companies, for example, young representatives also highlighted the importance of diversity and reliable information in working life.

”In the theme of this year’s Day of the Girl, I am particularly interested in how gender can limit the diversity of knowledge and how unreliable or incorrect information affects the norms and attitudes in our society,” said Nella Salminen from Helsinki, who will be serving as the coworker of the President.

”I want to highlight the enormous potential of girls on a large scale and to highlight the inequality that has unfortunately increased on a global scale during the pandemic. With the right information, women’s and girls’ understanding of their bodies and, for example, their right to self-determination will increase,” said Aada Sevón, 17, from Paimio. She will take over the position of the President and CEO at Bayer Nordic.

Girls are genuinely involved in decision making

Girls and young people around the world need reliable and factual information to ensure that their rights are realised. False information, beliefs and myths perpetuate discriminatory structures and inequalities.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of reliable information has been further emphasised. At the same time, it has become more difficult to acquire reliable information when schools around the world have been closed or children have been studying remotely. The Internet is full of information, but its reliability is often difficult to assess.

“What also makes receiving information more difficult is that not everyone has equal access to the Internet and digital devices. Girls, in particular, are at risk of being left behind due to the pandemic. Although schools will be reopened all over the world at some point, many girls will never return to school. Many previous crises have demonstrated this,” says Ossi Heinänen, Secretary General at Plan International Finland. 

Policy makers, public authorities, institutions and businesses can take action to promote access to reliable information and equality.

”We girls are the actors of the future and in order to achieve this we need a lot of information. Knowledge should be accessible to all of us equally, easily and intelligibly around the world, so that everyone has equal opportunities to realise their dreams,” says 17-year-old Meeri Havumäki from Jyväskylä, who takes over the position of Editor-in-Chief at Yle.

#GirlsTakeover gives the girls an opportunity during the day to genuinely and significantly influence the decisions made. Globally, girls have taken over more than 5,600 leadership positions in a total of 70 countries since 2016.