Plan International USA (Plan) has announced its annual celebration of girls’ rights on October 11 by encouraging all to join the Girl Unlocked movement. In honor of International Day of the Girl (IDG), Plan is asking individuals, corporations and communities to support girls and young women as they push through doors and unlock their power and potential.
Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 and observed every October 11, IDG is an annual day of recognition designed to raise awareness of the need for girls’ rights. This year’s IDG is more important than ever with the global pandemic adversely affecting girls in many ways. For example, millions of girls are currently out of school due to COVID-19, more exposed to violence and trafficking than ever. And with our lives moving online, girls are more at risk than ever of abuse online.
Plan’s Girl Unlocked initiative will shine a light on the work to be done and will provide ways for people to take action during this vital time through social and real-world integrations, Takeovers, web events and more. As part of its IDG activities, Plan International also released its annual 2020 State of the Worlds Girls Report focused on Freedom Online, addressing the harassment and abuse girls and young women face on social media in the U.S. and worldwide.
“Girls and young women around the world face closed doors everywhere they turn, and each year, Plan honors International Day of the Girl by inspiring action to support and inspire girls around the world to unlock their power and potential,” said Tessie San Martin, President and CEO of Plan International USA. “The pandemic has made girls even more vulnerable across the board, and it’s important for us to raise awareness of the key issues, one of which is harassment and abuse online. This is a barrier to their freedom, to their learning, to their voices being heard, and their potential unlocked, and it is time for action.”
As part of its IDG initiatives this year, Plan will continue to empower youth in the U.S. to smash gender stereotypes by stepping into roles of leadership via Plan’s signature Girl Takeovers. In 2019, more than 1,300 Takeovers were organized and run directly by Plan International offices in honor of IDG. This year, Takeovers are going virtual, allowing girl participants to engage even more through in-depth, hands-on mentorship activities. With the Takeovers, Plan matches girl participants with partner companies and their executives, unlocking doors for girls to take a leadership role in the company for the day and to explore various interests and careers. This year’s takeover partners include one hosted by Plan International USA‘s CEO and companies like Creative Artists Agency and AllianceBernstein.
“Takeovers have been an incredible way for me to take a deep-dive into the leadership and inner workings of an industry. My Takeover allowed me to not only have a seat at the table and learn from the experiences of top executives but also gave me a chance to offer my perspectives and insights on the company and its steps towards gender equity. As someone hoping to enter the consulting field, my Takeover was a dream come true,” said Malika Dia, Plan International USA Youth Advisory Board Member.
Girl Unlocked features a variety of IDG activities for people around the country to take part in:
- Decorate Front Doors on IDG and Share with Friends: Starting on October 5, and in celebration of IDG, Plan will rally individuals, families and businesses across the country to decorate their front doors with equal signs and bold messages about gender equality. Participants will be encouraged to share a photo on social media along with their hopes for the next generation of girls with the hashtag #GirlUnlocked. This simple action is a pandemic- and family-friendly activity symbolizing the national movement of unlocking opportunity for girls in the U.S. and globally. Participants can find inspiration and downloadable decorations by visiting our Girl Unlocked hub and downloading a toolkit.
- Join Female-Led Online Workshops: Plan and The Female Quotient are partnering up to host a series of free interactive online sessions led by Plan youth advocates and female corporate executives to share insights on how they achieved personal and professional success, in an effort to inspire the next generation of girls to pursue their own passions and career goals. The events are a unique activity for parents to share with their children, especially daughters, while spending more time at home. Visit this link to register.
- Check Out Freedom Online Report and Sign Letter to Amplify Girls’ Voices: Plan International’s new report shines a light on the harassment and abuse of girls and young women on social media. The organization spoke to 1,165 girls and young women between the age of 15 and 24 in the U.S. and found 43% reported that they have experienced some form of online harassment on social media platforms. Plan published an open letter written by girls asking social media companies to address their standards.
- Learn about Key Girls’ Rights Issues in Advance of Election Day: The Unlock the Vote hub serves as a critical resource to inform voters on what to look for in candidates who will be the strongest advocates for girls’ rights and important factors for consideration on Election Day in November 2020. Voters can also sign a petition that will be sent to the major party presidential campaigns asking them to focus on girls’ rights and gender equality. As part of the Election Day initiative, Plan has joined forces with theSkimm to help drive voting and bring attention to girls’ rights issues.
In honor of IDG and supporting girls’ rights, many organizations are joining the movement. The Female Quotient has partnered with Plan to donate 20 percent of sales from all FQ Collection orders now through June 1, 2021. Boscov’s has also partnered with Plan to donate five percent of a customer’s total purchase amount if “Plan International USA” is mentioned by name when making a purchase in-store or online October 14-15, as part of Boscov’s annual Friends Helping Friends campaign. If shopping online, customers will need to select to shop through the Providence, RI location.
Building on Plan’s partnership with Kotex through its She Can Initiative, Plan will host an international panel with young women from around the world to discuss how period stigma is holding girls back and what we can do to unlock a world that uplifts girls and women around their menstrual health. Young women from Brazil, Nigeria, Vietnam and the United States will be featured in a virtual conversation with the Kotex brand. The discussion will start on 10am EST on October 12. To join, follow Kimberly-Clark’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyClarkCorp.
To learn more about how to get involved in PLAN’s Girl Unlocked movement for IDG, visit http://www.planusa.org and follow on Facebook or Instagram.