Plan India's Girl Changemakers from 10 states in India stepped into the roles of ambassadors and high commissioners from 22 diplomatic missions on Friday to mark the International Day of the Girl Child (IDG).
The IDG 'diplomatic missions takeover' is a multi-stakeholder collaboration between Plan India and the Delegation of the European Union to India.
It is actively supported by participating diplomatic missions from Australia, Belgium, Slovakia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Norway, Estonia, Finland, New Zealand, Germany, Israel, Poland, Slovenia, Mexico, Lithuania, Latvia, Ecuador, Sweden, Bulgaria, Argentina, and Switzerland.
This is the third year that Plan India and diplomatic missions have partnered for IDG -- a UN-declared international observance day to support greater opportunities for girls and awareness of gender discrimination they endure worldwide.
The Girl Changemakers is from plan-supported communities representing Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Odisha, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, and Jharkhand.
The selection is based on a detailed analysis of their leadership abilities and commitment towards achieving girls' rights in their community, they bring forth their stories of courage and their unequivocal commitment to the larger movement of girls' rights and leadership.
On the occasion, girls were provided an opportunity to share their unique perspectives at the national level, and actively participate in the day-to-day operations of embassies and high commissioners.
"Gender equality is both a matter of justice and a smart investment towards a more equitable and inclusive society," said Ugo Astuto, Ambassador of the European Union to India speaking on behalf of all 22 diplomatic missions.
"The European Union is a strong supporter of Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5) on gender equality and women empowerment. We work closely with India and other partners around the world to foster equal opportunities for women and girls. I hope that the takeovers will help to break stereotypes and to encourage girls to follow their dreams, to lead and to realise their full potential," he said.
Anuja Bansal, Executive Director of Plan India, said gender inequality is a global issue that affects men and women in every country. Opportunities for girls and young women to be heard at a high level are few and far between.
"They are vastly underrepresented in leadership roles across the globe. The platform is an opportunity to highlight significant issues in their communities in a meaningful way with a view to creating real change," she said.
Initiatives like the Girls' Takeover by Plan India that are aligned with SDG 5 envision a gender-equal world free from discrimination, harassment, and violence.
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