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Caroline Riseboro Mar 21, 2018

Amplifying the voices and choices of women and girls around the globe

Caroline Riseboro | Mar 21, 2018

For nearly a century people around the world have been celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8th. To mark the day this year, and with the #MeToo movement at the half-year mark, Plan International Canada decided to poll Canadians on how #MeToo has impacted their lives.

The results demonstrate women’s and girls’ voices a powerhouse for creating meaningful change in attitudes towards gender here in Canada.

Of 3,000 respondents surveyed from across the country, nearly half said they believe social movements such as #MeToo and Time’sUp are paving the way for real gender equality.

Two-thirds of men and women agree that these movements are empowering females and that they are causing men to re-evaluate how they interact with women.

And thirty-one percent of respondents say the movements have changed how they think about sexual assault.

Man holding sign that says "I stand for women and girls"

A group of youth activists in Timor Leste protest violence against women and girls.

In my line of work, it can sometimes be challenging to remain optimistic. But when I read these numbers, I am hopeful.

I am hopeful that we are finally beginning to dig deep and hack away at the root of the problem.  We will not move the needle significantly on gender equality until we examine our culture and our deeply held beliefs. Over the last six months, we have been doing just that.

These findings are an important reminder of what working together can do to bring about real change in attitudes towards women and girls – moving us closer to achieving true gender equality in Canada and around the world.

But, there is still a lot of work to be done before we reach that goal.

While building on progress in Canada, we must also commit ourselves to ensuring the energy and momentum of the renewed gender movement is felt by all girls and women everywhere, to enable them to share their experiences.

Our findings demonstrate the power of storytelling – and of listening – to create real change.

Girl standing outside with arm on waist

Plan International works to help empower girls, like America, by training them with the knowledge and tools they need to realize their rights and protect themselves from violence.

By contributing to Plan International Canada, you are already playing a key role in this movement. As donors you are fueling this groundswell by helping amplify the voices and stories of some of the world’s most vulnerable girls.

Many of the girls living in the communities you support do not have access to social media. But by giving to Plan, you are helping these communities build other platforms and opportunities for girls to speak up and speak out against injustice and discrimination.

Together we are helping communities push for the meaningful change that is needed to achieve gender equality – and that is certainly something worth celebrating.