Connecting Canada's youth with opportunities to lead and break barriers

We believe representation and gender diversity matter, especially in leadership and positions of power. Since 2016, Plan International Canada’s Girls Belong Here program has been creating opportunities for self-identifying girls, young women and gender-diverse youth between the ages 14 and 24 to connect with leaders and claim spaces across civil, corporate, academic and government sectors.

We ALL have a right to equal opportunity in all industries. Through Girls Belong Here, young people exchange knowledge and ideas with leadership in the organizations they are paired with and provide their perspectives on various organizational strategies and initiatives, to support the advancement of gender equality.

This program is part of a global movement to amplify the voices of people who experience gender-based discrimination (including girls, women and non-binary people) to advocate for their rights and elevate their position in society.

Previous key partners include powerful industry leaders like David McKay, President of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and change-makers in the political realm including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Some of our partners in 2022-2023 included corporations such as IKEA, and AstraZeneca as well as political leaders such as Minister Marci Ien and Parliamentary Secretary Jenna Sudds.

Youth participant Deepali
Youth ambassador Deepali (right) meets with Country Customer Fulfilment Manager at IKEA, Liz Wilson (left).

Develop leadership and advocacy skills — both in-person and virtually:

Lindsay Glassco with youth leaders

Seat Share

Step into a leader’s role for several days. In this activity, youth exchange ideas with leadership, receive mentorship and participate in meetings and other meaningful discussions, contributing to key organization goals.

Innovation Hub

Connect and collaborate with other youth participants in a half-day workshop led by a partner organization. You’ll help address a challenge or issue they face – they want your unique perspective!

Speaker Series

Youth can share their ideas and advocacy work year-round by leading an organization’s lunch-and-learn, fundraising initiative or another event (don’t be afraid to think outside the box).

When does the program take place

The Girls Belong Here program takes place around two moments, International Day of the Girl in the fall (with programming between September and October) and International Women’s Day in the spring (with programming between February and March). This will offer two cohorts, and candidates are welcome to apply for either cohort.

Please note that the Girls Belong Here experience will take place during weekdays and working hours, which may lead to missing work or school. Plan International Canada can provide support letters to your school or employer.

Break the glass ceiling

We know that girls, women, and gender-diverse youth are creative, passionate and capable. Still, people who experience gender-based discrimination are underrepresented across all industries and sectors – especially science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields – and in key decision-making roles. The Girls Belong Here Program is here to change that.

Get Involved

See all the amazing things that can happen when girls, young women and gender-diverse youth lead.
For youth

We invite all self-identifying girls and young women as well as gender-diverse youth (eg: transgender, non-binary, genderfluid, two-spirit, agender, other) who are between the ages of 14 and 24 and based in Canada to apply.

If you’d like to participate in upcoming programming, follow us on social media to get updates about when our application period opens.

You can also sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to stay up to date on upcoming youth opportunities.

For organizations

There are many ways you can champion change (and innovation)! In addition to hosting a Seat Share, Innovation Hub or Speaker Series, you can fundraise. Fundraising can be through an employee page, point-of-sale campaign, company matching or other events and initiatives.

If you have an idea, we can help build it. To learn more or get involved, please contact us at

Thank you to all our incredible Girls Belong Here partners – past, present and future.

2023 partners


Legacy partners


Reflections from youth participants and partners

Corus Entertainment

In 2024, Corus Entertainment invited two youth ambassadors to partake in seat shares with executives. They discussed all things career-related, including goal setting and overcoming challenges.

Youth ambassadors and company leaders engaged in discussions about diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), as well as the importance of creating room for the voices of young people to be heard – especially the voices of girls.


Since 2019, BMO has been a proud partner supporting the Girls Belong Here program. In 2023, youth ambassador Kaitlyn took part in a seat share, spending the day with BMO’s chief marketing officer and other staff.

While exchanging ideas with executives, Kaitlyn learned about social impact marketing and building an online business presence. She also took part in networking and got to showcase her own non-profit, Orange for Change, which sells bracelets to fundraise in support of indigenous communities.


AstraZeneca has been a longtime partner of the Girls Belong Here program and even served as a global sponsor in 2022, going beyond Canadian borders to also offer seat shares in their United States and Sweden offices.

Most recently in the fall of 2023, AstraZeneca offered an innovation hub for five youth ambassadors. They joined executives to discuss sustainability challenges and to identify ways to effectively tackle pressing issues affecting the planet. They also discussed career paths, engaged in networking, and exchanged ideas to drive innovation at the company.


On International Women’s Day in 2023, Pfizer Canada invited a youth ambassador to participate in a seat share alongside the company’s president.

They talked about being a leader in the pharmaceutical industry and the importance of DE&I initiatives, especially as related to gender equality. They also exchanged ideas on how to reach younger generations and ensure their voices are included in important conversations.

Highlights: A look back at previous years

Go back to the 2023 Girls Belong Here Celebration Event and the 2022 fall program through these wrap-up videos. Watch youth ambassadors and partners share their perspectives, experiences and learnings.

Lindsay Glassco with youth advocates

Read more in our 2023 Annual Report

Ziyana, Krupal, Yllka and Arissa saw themselves in leadership at non-profits and on Parliament Hill – showing they have the power to create the change they want to see.

Read their stories

Contact us

Do you have questions or want to get involved? Please email We look forward to connecting with you!

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