Plan International Canada launches spring 2024 Girls Belong Here program, spotlighting the power and potential of young women leaders in Canada

Transformational youth leadership program Girls Belong Here partners young women with organizations across Canada to drive equality and inclusion

Toronto, ON, February 28, 2024 – Today, global girls’ equality organization Plan International Canada launches the latest edition of Girls Belong Here, its signature domestic youth leadership program where Canadian-based young women and gender-diverse youth step into high-profile professional roles of leaders in civil, academic, government and corporate sectors across Canada.

Youth participants ages 14 to 24 engage in Girls Belong Here through seat shares, in which they shadow senior leaders and experience their typical working day, or innovation hubs, a series of focus groups that provide fresh ideas to an organization on an issue or topic of note. Ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, the program kicks off today and runs throughout spring 2024.

By participating in Girls Belong Here, young women see firsthand how they provide invaluable perspective and truly belong at all tables where decisions are being made. Partner organizations demonstrate their support for diversity, equity, inclusion and gender equality.

“Girls Belong Here allows partner organizations to make an impactful investment in today’s youth and encourage more women to seek out leadership roles,” said Anjum Sultana, Plan International Canada’s Director of Youth Leadership, Policy and Advocacy. “Beyond meaningful mentorship, this program lets young women envision themselves in leadership positions they may not have considered previously. This transformative experience enables them to affirm their power and potential.”

Since 2016, Plan International Canada has facilitated 150 mentorship and professional development opportunities, fostering connections between 195 youth ambassadors from across Canada and dozens of organizations.

Leading sponsor Cenovus Energy will host seat shares with two members of its Executive Leadership Team, Rhona DelFrari, Chief Sustainability Officer and Executive Vice-President, Stakeholder Engagement, and Susan Anderson, Senior Vice-President, People Services. The company will also hold an innovation hub, during which youth participants will share potential solutions to address an organizational challenge. Like other partner organizations, Cenovus Energy will gain fresh insights directly from young women leaders.

"As someone passionate about law, policy and social justice issues, I’m intrigued by opportunities to connect and create real change, especially for gender equality,” says Girls Belong Here youth ambassador Krushi Patel, 22. “I look forward to learning from my mentors at Cenovus and contributing my ideas.”

“Cenovus has a strong commitment to fostering a diverse workforce, including targets for increasing women in leadership roles and on the Board of Directors. These goals are backed by specific actions, including mentoring opportunities,” says DelFrari. “Partnering with Plan International Canada for Girls Belong Here is a unique opportunity for us to showcase the varied roles women leaders have at our company and enables us to ask participants for their viewpoints about how to attract the next generation of female leaders to our industry.”

Plan International Canada is proud to partner with multiple organizations for its latest Girls Belong Here spring 2024 edition, including:
  • Cenovus Energy
  • Corus Entertainment
  • BMO
  • RBC
  • Brother Canada
  • Jays Care Foundation
  • Metrolinx
  • Results Canada
  • UNICEF Canada

Ahead of International Women's Day, Plan International Canada calls on everyone to create a more just and equitable world for girls and young women, who often face discrimination and barriers to opportunity. People across Canada are invited to make an investment in girls’ leadership at

Follow @PlanCanada and #GirlsBelongHere on social media for a firsthand look at how our partners invest in girls and young women during spring 2024, and to see the journeys of our program participants as they demonstrate that girls belong in leadership – and wherever they aspire to be.

About Plan International Canada

Plan International Canada is a member of a global organization dedicated to advancing children’s rights and equality for girls. Plan International has been building powerful partnerships for children for over 85 years and is now active in more than 80 countries.

We stand with children, especially girls, wherever they are oppressed, exploited, left behind or not equally valued. We’re determined optimists and will continue to persevere until we are all equal.

Visit for more information.

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Plan International Canada
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