IN PICTURES: Girls around the world take the lead for International Day of the Girl

To mark the 5th International Day of the Girl on October 11, girls across Canada and around the world, raised their voices to speak up for their right to equal opportunities. They challenged their local and national leaders to support girls’ empowerment because #GirlsBelongHere – in positions to lead, decide and make a difference. Over 250 leaders worldwide accepted this challenge, and invited a girl to take the lead in their role for the day!

SEE ALSO: Why a group of inspiring girls are boldly challenging Canadian leaders to stand up for girls’ rights

The unfortunate reality is that girls and women are disproportionately underrepresented in leadership roles and decision-making positions in many sectors, and in countries across the globe. Plan International is proud to support this groundswell of girls in breaking gender stereotypes, defying the norms, and rallying support for their rights and empowerment!

Catch some of the highlights from Day of the Girl and experience the inspiring impact of girls’ empowerment in countries around the world.


A group of amazing girls took the lead for a day with 13 Canadian leaders, including government ministers and Members of Parliament. Canadians shared messages of support for girls’ empowerment using the hashtag #GirlsBelongHere with our partner Sears Canada donating $1 for every message (up to a maximum of $30,000). The huge wave of encouragement was incredible – girls, boys, women and men raised their voices, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In addition to supporting girls in leadership roles, we celebrated Day of the Girl by opening the market at the Toronto Stock Exchange alongside partners, like IBM, Scotiabank and EY Canada, and other girls’ empowerment organizations, like G(irls)20 and FitSpirit/Fillactive. We also hosted a special #GirlsBelongHere panel discussion on gender equality with a group of youth and Madame Grégoire Trudeau, and led a public activation in the Toronto Eaton Centre that encouraged people to share messages of support for girls’ rights and empowerment!


A teenaged girl sitting at the head of a table.

15-year-old Yadis from Colombia served as Mayor of Madrid for the day!

Girls from Nicaragua, Colombia and India joined Spanish Parliamentarians to bring forward the issues that girls around the world face. 15-year-old Yadis from Colombia even had the chance to step into the role of Mayor of Madrid, where she raised awareness about the importance of girls’ empowerment:
“Girls want to participate in the decision-making process, where we can talk about our rights and needs. If you allow us to be visible, we can do the rest.”


A woman patting the shoulder of a teenaged girl.17-year-old Sajju led a symbolic Parliamentary session as the President of Nepal, with 40 additional girls filling the other leadership roles of Prime Minister, Speaker of the House and Members of Parliament. Together, they presented an action plan to address the issues girls face to Nepal’s President and other prominent government officials. 


A girl sitting at a desk14-year-old Sheila served as County Commander of her local community in Kenya, where she urged police officers and leaders to stand up for the safety and protection of girls.


Two teenaged girls standing with a woman.Olinda and Elfia had the opportunity to take part in meetings and discussions with the Vice Minister of Education, where they weighed in on some of the issues affecting their community’s education system.


Girls seated in a large hall.More than 100 adolescent girls filled the seats of the National Assembly of Ecuador on Day of the Girl, with 14-year-old Nohelia leading the session as the President of the National Assembly for the day!

A girl sitting among adult women.

14-year-old Nohelia (in pink) takes on the roles of President of the National Assembly!


A collage of girls in leadership roles.Girls’ empowerment was spread across the country! From Ruby taking over the radio waves, to Bhavani acting as Chief of Police in Hyderabad, to Sahibun becoming village leader of her community for the day – girls made their voices and opinions heard!


17-year-old Hanna became the Editor-in-Chief for one of the country’s national media outlets. She even had the chance to meet the Prime Minister of Norway and raise awareness about the global fight to end child marriage.

Stand up for girls’ rights and empowerment

The celebration of girls’ rights and empowerment isn’t just limited to one day. Beyond the International Day of the Girl, we can raise our voices and take action to stand up for gender equality. Join us and rally behind girls’ rights!

Join the movement for girls’ rights