Underestimating women power is the greatest folly that can be committed in these times. And this empowerment imparting was amply demonstrated in the various foreign missions situated in New Delhi where young teenage girls, who are students as well, took over as mission incharge on International Day for Girls.
Twenty three girls from Plan India’s communities symbolically took over 12 Embassies and High Commissions in the capital, including the Delegation of the European Union to India, Embassy of Spain, Sweden, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Slovenia, France, USA and High Commission of South Africa, New Zealand, Canada and United Kingdom.
This initiative was in continuation to 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.
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.
To commemorate IDG, Plan India, in collaboration with Delegation of the European Union to India, High Commission of Canada in India and other Diplomatic Missions, provided an excellent opportunity to girls from Plan India communities to take over powerful positions for a day by stepping into the roles of Ambassadors and High Commissioners in New Delhi today.
The symbolic takeovers took place today, with 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 takeovers at different diplomatic missions concluded with a large public gathering where the selected girls and their respective Heads of Mission engaged in an open discussion of their experiences. A youth-led interactive art installation also took place.
Plan India released the report titled 'Unlock the Power of Girls Now', which was undertaken by Plan International in Spain, Uganda and Colombia. It demonstrates clearly that gender inequality leading to aggression, prejudice and poverty is still very much a part of the fabric of our society.
A joint statement issued by 30 diplomatic missions in India to mark International Day of the Girl reaffirmed their countries’ strong commitment to promoting gender equality, empowerment of women and girls and the advancement of their human rights.”
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.”
“I believe that girls can do everything, but they need the support of everyone around to break down barriers that stop them from achieving. The ‘Girls’ Takeover’ initiative will help build the confidence of girls like me to chase their dreams and aspire to change the world around them,” said 18-year-old Babita from Delhi who took over as the Ambassador of France to India.
Globally, Plan International celebrated this day by initiating more than 500 takeovers in 60 countries with over 1,000 girls becoming 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 strategic movement which advocates for 100 million 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. 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, 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.