International Day of the Girl: A journey through time
International Day of the Girl 2022
Watch this special message from the Honourable Rona Ambrose, who partnered with Plan International Canada in the creation of the International Day of the Girl. As a champion for girls’ and women’s rights, she led the charge on behalf of Canada at the United Nations to establish this important day.
International Day of the Girl 2021
In 2021, Plan International Canada continued our flagship Girls Belong Here program virtually. Young women stepped into senior executive roles and shared their voices at organizations across Canada. New Innovation Hubs brought together youth ambassadors and leaders to discuss business challenges. And we encouraged girls to take the mic and speak to engaged leaders who seek equality and justice for girls within their own organizations – and beyond.
International Day of the Girl 2020
In 2020, Plan International Canada highlighted the power and leadership potential of girls and young women through virtual seat shares all over Canada. Due to the pandemic, the Girls Belong Here program went virtual for the first time and was designed to provide more space for youth ambassadors to share their voices, stories, ideas and solutions with leaders and organizations.
International Day of the Girl 2019
In 2019, Plan International Canada brought together special guests – including youth ambassadors, Celebrated Ambassadors and social influencers – to play a retro-style game show challenging Canadians to be able to tell fact from fiction when it comes to girls’ rights and equality.
International Day of the Girl 2018
To celebrate International Day of the Girl 2018, a fierce group of Defiant Girls were joined by Plan International Canada Global Ambassador Sophie Grégoire Trudeau at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre for the release of new survey data exploring the realities of gender equality for girls 14- to 24-years-old in Canada.
Plan International Canada's national survey revealed just how 'normal' sexual harassment, gender discrimination and insecurity continue to be for girls across Canada.
International Day of the Girl 2017
On October 11, 2017, girls from all around the world filled the roles of business leaders, presidents and prime ministers to show the world that girls CAN do anything! See the highlights and all the excitement from the 2017 International Day of the Girl celebrations.
International Day of the Girl 2016
To mark the 5th International Day of the Girl on October 11, girls across Canada and around the world raised their voices and spoke 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!
Plan International Canada was proud to support this groundswell of girls in breaking gender stereotypes, defying the norms, and rallying support for their rights and empowerment.
International Day of the Girl 2015
To mark the fourth annual International Day of the Girl, Plan International Canada encouraged the public to pledge their support for girls’ rights, create awareness about gender discrimination, and demonstrate their commitment to create a brighter future for everyone.
To take the pledge, those in Toronto engaged with the “Order Up Equality” truck that roamed the city during the first week of October, 2015. Instead of serving food, the truck provided opportunities to learn more about the unique barriers that girls face and to take action by “ordering up a girls’ rights combo” from the menu.
International Day of the Girl 2014
In 2014, Plan International Canada called on Canadians to celebrate and advocate for a brighter future for the world’s girls by marking the day through a series of public and online activations, including its “Notes for a Brighter Future” Post-it® Note art installation at the Toronto Eaton Centre.
International Day of the Girl 2013
Plan International Canada marked the second International Day of the Girl through a series of public events and activities in communities across the country, including a vibrant 3D-styled interactive installation at the St. Laurent Centre in Ottawa and screenings of Girl Rising, a ground-breaking film that tells the stories of 9 brave girls from around the globe. Iconic monuments across Canada, such as Niagara Falls, Toronto's CN Tower, and Newfoundland's Cabot Tower were lit up in pink in honour of the day.
International Day of the Girl 2012
On the first-ever International Day of the Girl – a day made possible thanks to the leadership, enthusiastic support and passion of Canadians – Plan International Canada inaugurated the day through a concert and celebration at Yonge-Dundas Square and through its support of the online advocacy campaign, "Raise Your Hand for Girls' Education," which encouraged the public to send a message to the United Nations to make girls' education a top global priority.
Our latest research on girls’ rights
A Message to My Younger / Older Self
Join our digital campaign! To encourage and inspire girls to see themselves as leaders and to claim #EqualPowerNow, share a message to your younger or older self. Use the links to submit yours.
Submit your own message to your younger self.
You already have everything you need inside of you. Trust yourself. Trust your own mind, instincts, opinions and heart.
You'll see, there is no success without failure and happiness without grief… You'll be everything you dream of and more.
Listen to your head and your heart and use the gifts you have to build a life that brings you happiness and fulfillment.
Embrace your identity and don’t be scared to take risks.
Never be afraid to speak your mind, take the lead and challenge the status quo. Seek mentors, learn from them and pass it on.
Be more patient about the things you really want, accept that it may take a longer time to achieve them, and enjoy the journey of making progress.
Today I know that I am good enough the way I am, just because I am. And that's what I want my girls to know.
Use your voice for good and stand up for what you believe in. Make sure to laugh a lot, love, and live whole-heartedly.
You will find your place and your people and will flourish with the gifts you hold.
Make sure to allow for moments of peace in between all the chaos.
Know that you will have to fight and that's okay, it will make you strong. Keep going, keep striving, be an activist.
If I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be You can use your voice. Trust your instincts and use your space. Don't worry about being LOUD, or disrupting the peace.
Just live your life and don't think about what others will think. Follow your heart
There are a few people I'm not sure about yet, but the ones you love the most get better. You don't cry when you listen to "Moments" by One Direction anymore :)
Tanya, Canning Nova Scotia
My message to girls and young women everywhere is "don't be afraid to take up space". You have just as much right as anyone else to be here, to have your voice heard. You are important and what you have to say matters. ♥️
I know you'll keep doubting yourself, and you'll probably do this until the end of your life, but I wish you could trust yourself more because you're already very brave.
I want to tell my younger self that she has value just by being herself, and it's not connected in any way to her looks, weight, clothes or possessions. Also, that I love her, and hope she can love herself too.
I wish I could tell my younger self to not care what others think.
Be confident in who you are. Don’t be afraid to ask for a seat at the table and get what you deserve.
Life gets harder, but your ability to manage obstacles will greatly surpass each challenging phase.
My message to girls and young women everywhere is: You don't need to wait for others to change... be the change!
I've experienced many challenges and barriers in my life, and what kept me going were my dreams and passion. One day I want to make this world much beautiful place for future generations.
Believe in yourself! Trust yourself! You are incredible people!
Don't be so eager to grow up, take your time to enjoy every phase of your life.
When things get tough, know that you are learning and getting even better at facing challenges, and I PROMISE it will not always be so hard.
Be calm and remember to breathe, and know that you are whole, perfect, strong and powerful.
I am enough and I can achieve anything I put my heart and soul into, no matter what anyone tells you.
Never let anyone take that power away from you. Keep your head held high and walk forward with certainty. Your courage will move mountains, so be bold and take up space!
Submit your own message to your older self.
You have the power to speak goodness into this world and you have the power to change the world, no matter how big or small.
Isabella, Richmond Hill:
You are so much more than what others think. You are so much stronger than you believe you are.
I hope that the world you experience and live in is one where young women and girls are unafraid to do what they love – where they are encouraged rather than placed under society’s limits.
Don't let anyone tell you that your goals aren't worth it or are too impossible.
Victoria, St. Thomas
Do not lose your passion or your voice. My message is to take your seat at the table unapologetically.
Anuarite-Ange Nshimirimana, Montreal
I know that the person I would be in 10 years is going to be surrounded by a sea of people congratulating her for her achievements. Remember that you belong in any space you want to occupy.
You shouldn't be afraid to use your voice. Don't mind the judgement and rise above.
Always believe that your goals are attainable, because you have the potential to reach them.
My advice to girls and young women everywhere is to never be afraid to be bold and speak up for yourselves, even if it is challenging and frightening.
Lehar, Charlottetown, PEI
If I could tell future me one thing, it would be: to believe in yourself, and keep going.
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