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Developing girl-powered solutions to gender inequality in Canada

Plan Canada, YWCA Canada, YMCA Canada and Status of Women Canada announce new program to develop young women leaders across Canada

TORONTO, CANADA, March 9, 2015 – In celebration of International Women’s Day yesterday, Plan Canada joined with girls and young women from around the Greater Toronto Area, partners YWCA Canada and YMCA Canada, and the Status of Women Canada, to announce a new program aimed at promoting girl-powered solutions to gender inequality in Canada. Strong Girls, Strong World will empower girls and young women in 10 communities across Canada to identify critical obstacles they face on their way to becoming leaders and change-makers, and to develop action plans to overcome them. The projects will be funded by Status of Women Canada.

The Status of Women Canada, Plan Canada, YWCA Canada and YMCA Canada launched “Strong Girls, Strong World,” a new national program for young women leaders on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2015.

The Status of Women Canada, Plan Canada, YWCA Canada and YMCA Canada launched “Strong Girls, Strong World,” a new national program for young women leaders on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2015. Pictured here with girls from the Greater Toronto Area are the Hon. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women (centre left), Scott Haldane, CEO of YMCA Canada (centre), Chantelle Krish, Manager of Advocacy and Public Relations of YWCA Metro Vancouver (fifth from left), and Kristy Payne, Plan Canada's Vice President of Communications and Public Engagement (fifth from right). Photo: Shan Qiao.

“Plan’s work across 70 countries has shown that, when you invest in girls, the whole community, and ultimately the whole world, benefits,” said Rosemary McCarney, Plan Canada President and CEO. “We welcome the support of the Canadian Government on this collaborative project. Through Strong Girls, Strong Women, together, we’re investing in girls across Canada, giving them the skills and confidence they need to become powerful agents of positive change in their own communities.”

Each of the girl-led projects will develop action plans to address barriers girls face on their way to becoming leaders and change-makers, such as gender-based violence, economic insecurity, or lack of cross-cultural understanding within communities.

“We are happy to partner with Plan Canada and YMCA Canada on the Strong Girls, Strong World project that will bring young women together to work towards ending gender inequality,” said YWCA Canada CEO Paulette Senior. “As a major provider of programming for girls and young women in Canada, we know from our work on the ground how important it is to engage young women in innovative and meaningful ways to empower them to invest in their schools, homes and communities to create change. Empowering girls and young women will change the world. When we invest in young women we nurture self-respect and self-esteem and that pays off for us all.”

Projects will be responsive to the needs of girls in each community, tackling such as issues as violence and online bullying, or promoting peacebuilding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous girls and young women. Unique in their design and implementation, each project will empower girls and young women to gain essential skills and assume key leadership roles. They will all produce benefits that spiral out into the wider community for girls and boys, women and men.

“We are delighted to partner with Plan Canada and the YWCA and thank Minister Leitch and Status of Women Canada for their support. YMCAs in Canada have a long history of delivering programs and services to help engage and develop youth leaders and believe in empowering all youth to reach their full potential. We are excited about the girl-led projects that are receiving this funding and are confident that they will have a real impact on empowering young women to be leaders and change makers in their communities,” said Scott Haldane, CEO of YMCA Canada.

About Plan and the Because I am a Girl initiative
Founded in 1937, Plan is one of the world’s oldest and largest international development agencies, working in partnership with millions of people around the world to end global poverty. Not for profit, independent and inclusive of all faiths and cultures, Plan has only one agenda: to improve the lives of children. Because I am a Girl is Plan’s global initiative to end gender inequality, promote girls’ rights and lift millions of girls – and everyone around them – out of poverty. Visit and for more information.

About the YMCA in Canada
For more than 160 years, YMCAs have been at the centre of communities across Canada helping people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities live engaging, rewarding lives. A charity dedicated to the health of individuals and communities, the YMCA is accessible to all, serving over 2 million people annually in more than 1000 locations. Our programs and services address significant social and health issues with initiatives tailored to local community needs.

Our Federation of 45 YMCA and 5 YMCA-YWCA Member Associations works together to strengthen communities and advocate for children, teens and young adults, helping all to reach their potential and realize their goals.

About YWCA Canada
YWCA Canada is the country's oldest and largest women's multi-service organization. Our 32 Member Associations serve women and girls in nine provinces and two territories. YWCA Canada is the nation's single largest provider of shelter to women and children fleeing violence, the second largest provider of childcare services, and an active member of the World YWCA. For more information visit, find us on Twitter @YWCA_Canada or at

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Media contacts:

Abigail Brown, Senior Media and Public Relations Manager, Plan Canada
T: 416-920-1654 ext. 277 | C: 647-971-3764 |

Laura Tilley, Manager, Communications & Marketing, YWCA Canada
T: 416-962-8881 ext. 233 |