(VNF) - On October 11th, positions of Vice Chairwoman of People's Committee and other leaders in Dong Anh District was took over by eight girls who are calling for equality and proving they can change the world on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl.
Discrimination results in girls and women being excluded from key areas of power and influence. Only 10 out of 152 elected heads of state and 14 of 194 heads of government worldwide are women. In addition, fewer than 4 per cent of CEOs leading the world’s 500 most prominent corporations are women.
“Girls have the power to change the world. Plan International’s #GirlsTakeover shows that when girls get the same opportunities and choices in life as their male peers, they can transform their lives and communities,” said Nguyen Thi Tam, Vice Chairwoman of Dong Anh District People's Committee.
“Dong Anh district in conjunction with Plan International Vietnam supports girls takeover positions of power to highlight the casual inequalities that curtail their education, the barriers that limit their freedom of expression,” she added.
Sharon Kane, Country Director of Plan International Vietnam.
“Girls worldwide face a wall of resistance in their struggle to progress and realise their dreams. They often have no power over the decisions they make or the choices they have,” said Sharon Kane, Country Director of Plan International Vietnam. “The takeover action is an emphatic statement of girls’ power and potential. When girls get equal opportunities and equal chances in life, they can transform their lives and their communities.”
“I’m really excited to be here today, on the day of International Day of the Girl, Plan International Vietnam is working with the Dong Anh District for the girls take over today, where we see girls symbolically take over the role of government leaders and key people, symbolically be able to stand up and talk about girls’ rights in Vietnam.”
“The girls today in Vietnam stand along side with about 500 other girls around the world, symbolically taking over. Plan International sees this is a very important topic beacause it’s very crucial to empower girls and boys to able to stand up for child protection issues. Plan Vietnam is supporting children, girls and boys so the girls, in the future, can have the right to make decisions and make brighter change in the world, included in Vietnam,” she shared.
Girls step into the shoes of eight key leaders and listen to students’ questions.
According to Sharon, child protection is the issue that is everywhere around the world, and one of the key to protecting children is to give them a ability to have a voice and be able to participant, be confident to talk about their issues with their parents, teachers and government leaders.“Child protection begins at home and communities so Plan Internation hopes we can work with girls and boys, making them feel strong, to be able to participant and to make changes in their lives. That’s fundamental way that we can change and address some of the child protection issues in Vietnam.”
At the forum, eight female students, representing tens of thousands of girls in Dong Anh District, were given the right to join with district and commune leaders in the discussion to answer questions of children at the forum, providing orientation to promote the safety of children, especially girls in public spaces. The students were enthusiastically expressing their views and opinions on equal rights, sexuality issues and child sexual abuse prevention.
Students share their views and requests at the forum.
Hoang Anh, a local seventh grade student, shared, “We learned basic knowledge about gender equality, violence, abuse and prevention at school. It is clear that girls are more disadvantaged, even in the school environment. In my opinion, boys and girls have equal positions and roles, must be equally respected.”
According to Nguyen Thi Hong Phuc, a teacher at Tien Duong Primary School, organising propaganda on the prevention of harassment, domestic abuse and child abuse in schools has brought certain results. Students aware of gender issues and the importance of protecting themselves from the risks of violence and abuse, especially sexual and family abuse.
This global action on International Day of the Girl is a call for a social and political revolution to tear down the barriers that continue to hold girls back. When girls have equal opportunities, they can transform their lives and communities. #GirlsTakeover is an initial step on a long road to change but it also shows that the girls’ rights movement is gaining momentum.
Students present their works on preventing child sexual harressment.
October 11th has been a key global moment to celebrate the power of girls and highlight the barriers they face since the United Nations adopted it as International Day of the Girl in December 2011.
While there has long been an International Women's Day and an International Day of the Child, neither of these days recognise the unique position of girls who are discriminated against simply for being young and female.
Plan International led the call for an international day of recognition for girls and achieving it was one of the earliest goals of Because I am a Girl.
Last year, more than 300 #GirlsTakeover events took place in more than 50 countries to demonstrate girls’ strength, power and ability to change the world.
This year, girls stepped into the shoes of over 600 of leaders in 60 countries including presidents, mayors, head teachers, business leaders and more to show that girls should be free to dream and free to lead./.