Earlier this month, we celebrated International Women’s Day – a day dedicated to honouring the achievements of women and rallying around a global commitment to advance gender equality. To recognize the day, Plan International Canada released new survey data about the heightened barriers girls face as they transition into womanhood. We found that as girls enter this stage in their lives and begin to take their place in the world, they are met with roadblocks that challenge their power, freedom and equality.
For example, young women in Canada are less likely to believe they can lead, or that their ideas are taken seriously. They also say they do not feel empowered to share their opinions and are more likely to feel pressure to change their physical appearance and behaviours. When asked where in their life, if at all, they experienced discrimination because of their gender, over three in ten Canadian women say their workplaces.
Overall, our survey data showed that gender inequality affects young people the most. This means we can no longer attempt to solve this issue without them. Their lived experiences and perspectives are the key to making real and lasting progress.
That’s why we are advocating for a youth-led approach to closing the equality gap. For International Women’s Day we demonstrated this by sharing our findings alongside Plan International Canada Youth Ambassadors and activists, who are at the forefront of this work.
Being able to talk, listen to and advocate alongside youth is what made this past International Women’s Day so inspiring for me, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to share some of these moments with you here:
1. A Candid Conversation with Activists Maryam and Nivaal Rehman
I got to sit down with teen activists and journalists, Maryam and Nivaal Rehman, to talk about breaking barriers, defying norms and unleashing your full potential. Click here to see more.
2. On Air with Plan International Canada Youth Ambassador
While on CP24, Plan International Canada Youth Ambassador Roshni shared a powerful message to young women everywhere: “You are not alone and you are able to redefine what normal is.” I am so inspired to see that young women like Roshni are defying normal every day and refusing to back down in the face of inequality. Watch our interview here.
3. Youth for Gender Equality: History in the Making
To make International Women’s Day even more meaningful, from March 8-11 Youth for Gender Equality, a three-year initiative co-led by Plan International Canada and the Canadian Teacher’s Federation, brought youth from across Canada to craft the first-ever youth-led Implementation Plan for gender equality. The plan will be unveiled for the first time this upcoming June at Women Deliver – the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women.
This International Women’s Day was only a glimpse of what can be accomplished when youth lead the way. Thanks to your support, we can continue advancing equality with solutions that are informed by youth perspectives. I am confident, that when we work alongside youth and amplify their voices, we get one step closer to building a world where everyone thrives.