Girls take over as Ambassadors to mark International Day of the Girl Child
To commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child, the Embassy of France in India today participated in an initiative by Plan India, in collaboration with the Delegation of the European Union to India, the High Commission of Canada in India and other diplomatic missions, to provide an excellent opportunity to girls from Plan India communities to claim powerful positions in society for a day by stepping into the roles of Ambassadors and High Commissioners in New Delhi.
New Delhi, 11 October 2017
Twenty-three girls from Plan India’s communities symbolically took over 12 delegations and embassies in the capital, including the Delegation of the European Union to India, the Embassies of Spain, Sweden, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Slovenia, France, USA and the High Commissions of South Africa, New Zealand, Canada and United Kingdom. This initiative is in continuation of Plan India’s ongoing efforts to bring down barriers of discrimination that continue to hold girls back in society, by supporting greater opportunities for girls and celebrating their power and potential. Through these takeovers, Plan India envisages encouraging other girls and young women to step forward as leaders and decision makers, and make their voices heard on numerous challenges they face.
The symbolic takeovers took place today, with the girls actively shadowing the Ambassadors and High Commissioners, and taking on their roles for a short period of time, chairing meetings and engaging with key staff. The activity concluded with a Town Hall meeting between, the Ambassadors and the Mission Staff, and the girls who participated in the takeovers shared their experiences and engaged in an open discussion with the Ambassadors. Subsequently, a youth-led interactive art installation and experience sharing sessions took place with the girls, High Commissioners and Ambassadors.
Following the takeovers of the diplomatic representations, a high tea event was organised to release a research report by Plan India, titled ’Unlock the Power of Girls Now’. The research report this year, which was undertaken by Plan International in Spain, Uganda and Colombia, demonstrates clearly that gender inequality is still very much part of the fabric of our society.
A joint statement issued by the undersigned diplomatic missions in India stated, “This unique initiative reflects our year-round effort to foster gender equality. We reaffirm our countries’ strong commitment to promoting gender equality, empowerment of women and girls, and the advancement of their human rights. Today, we have all come together to mark the International Day of the Girl Child through a range of engagements, encouraging greater opportunities for girls.”
Commenting on this initiative, Ms. Bhagyashri Dengle, Executive Director, Plan India, said, “Despite significant progress over the last several decades toward girls’ and women’s equal participation, gaps still remain. 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 and promotes their rights.”
“Discrimination is a big challenge for girls. This problem must be taken seriously to bring change in our society. The takeover would give me a chance to address issues faced by girls and maybe at some level, help create or improve existing policies,” said 22-year-old Neha Siddiqui, from Delhi who took over the Delegation of the European Union.
Globally, Plan International celebrated this day by initiating more than 500 takeovers in 60 countries where over 1,000 girls became Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Presidents, Mayors, CEOs, Senior Directors, School Principals, and Editors for a day to raise their voices for girls’ rights. This global action also supports Plan International’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign which advocates for all girls to have the power and freedom to learn, lead, decide and thrive.
Achieving gender equality is one of the Global Goals (SDG 5) agreed upon by world leaders in 2015, which promises to transform the world by 2030. The International Day of the Girl Child was declared an international observance day by the United Nations due to the advocacy efforts of Plan International. On the occasion of the sixth International Day of the Girl Child, Plan India stands with girls for equality and strives to work together with them to create opportunities for greater engagement of girls and illustrate every girl’s sheer potential and right to equal opportunities.
Plan India is a nationally registered independent child development organisation committed to creating a lasting impact in the lives of vulnerable and excluded children, their families and communities. For over 35 years, Plan India and its partners have improved the lives of millions of children by providing them access to protection, basic education, proper healthcare, a healthy environment, livelihood opportunities and participation in decisions which affect their lives. For more information, please visit: www.planindia.org.
International Day of the Girl, celebrated every year on October 11, is a UN-declared international observance day to support greater opportunities for girls and awareness of gender discrimination they endure worldwide. It also recognises girls as powerful agents of change and as the leaders of tomorrow. This platform provides visibility and drives new opportunities for action and investment in them.