Plan International Canada kicks-off International Day of the Girl celebrations with leadership seat shares all over Canada

Plan International Canada celebrates the inherent power and leadership potential of girls by teaming up with partners for its largest Girls Belong Here seat share program to date.

TORONTO, ON – Sept. 3, 2019 – In the lead up to International Day of the Girl on Oct. 11, 2019, young women will find themselves at the head of the boardroom table once again as part of Plan International Canada’s Girls Belong Here initiative.

In its fourth year, Girls Belong Here invites CEOs, presidents, business leaders and members of senior leadership from around the country to participate in a day-long seat share with young women aged 14- to 24-years-old. For one day, these girl bosses will call the shots – leading meetings, participating in important conversations, contributing to critical organizational goals and demonstrating the value in their unique perspectives.

Between September 10 to October 11, over 30 seat shares will take place in the Greater Toronto Area, Vancouver, Montreal, Chicago and London, U.K., at companies including BMO Financial Group, Ikea Canada, Loblaw Companies Limited, L’Oréal Canada, lululemon athletica, Manulife, Norton Rose Fulbright, Pfizer Canada, Reitmans, RBC, Scotiabank, Shoppers Drug Mart, Tangerine, Unilever Canada and Universal Music Canada; and with committed partners including Breakfast Television, Canadian Ambassador to the UN, Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) , Catalyst Canada, ET Canada, Jays Care Foundation, Judge Karen Erlick, Wilfrid Laurier University, Right To Play, SickKids, and Telefilm. For the second consecutive year, Plan International Canada is proud to have BMO Financial Group as Executive Sponsor for the Girls Belong Here initiative. This strong commitment from BMO boldly reinforces their commitment to gender equality in their workplace.

“Girls Belong Here is more than a moment in time for young women – it’s an invaluable and continuous learning opportunity for CEOs, Presidents and leaders all over Canada to realize the incredible power within girls,” said Caroline Riseboro, President and CEO of Plan International Canada. “When we talk about leadership, we need to ask ourselves whether we’re creating spaces that enable girls and all young people to unleash their leadership potential. By taking part in this program, our partners are making a statement and taking a stand for women and young people everywhere.”

Normally, many young women face a complex combination of barriers to leadership, such as harmful gender norms, discrimination and negative perceptions that may either deny or impede them from unleashing their full potential. Through Girls Belong Here, participating young women are proudly breaking barriers to move from dreaming to achieving – channeling their inherent power, defying normal and challenging what leadership looks like in Canada.

“The Girls Belong Here program offers a one of-a-kind opportunity to girls and young women like me,” said Lillian, a past participant of the Girls Belong Here initiative. “It’s a celebration of diversity, equal opportunity and of taking responsibility to make the change we want to see a reality. By participating in this initiative, I’ve had the privilege of meeting and being inspired by the youth that are fighting for a better today, and the people supporting them. The program has only strengthened my conviction that we will achieve equality in my lifetime.”

Plan International works globally in over 70 countries to support girls and women in challenging deep-rooted gender norms to advance efforts toward gender equality. The organization recently released Taking the Lead, a report that provides an in-depth and ambitious look at female leadership by sharing the ideas and experiences of almost 10,000 girls and young women from around the world. The report found that 76 per cent of girls and young women aspire to be a leader in their country, community or career, and identifying pathways to leadership is critical in enabling them to unleash their potential.

As girls around the country step into leadership roles through the Girls Belong Here initiative, a critical pathway is being unlocked. Participating CEOs, presidents and leaders are using their power to demonstrate what’s possible if we break down gender stereotypes, transform power relations and create a world where every girl can realize her power within.

“For the second year in a row, we’re excited to support International Day of the Girl and welcome another group of truly impressive Girl Ambassadors to step into the roles of BMO leaders for a day,” said Darryl White, Chief Executive Officer, BMO Financial Group, “Demonstrating future career paths to young women and creating opportunities for their perspectives contributes directly to greater equality, economic empowerment, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This is a necessary step forward, inspired by our Purpose – to Boldly Grow the Good in Business and Life.”

Girls Belong Here is part of Plan International’s global mass initiative with young women anticipated to fill roles in more than 70 countries. On October 10th, Plan International Canada will culminate national celebrations for International Day of the Girl with a public activation taking place in downtown Toronto.

Join Plan International Canada’s International Day of the Girl conversations online:

Hashtag: #DayoftheGirl
Twitter: @plancanada | @biaagcanada
Instagram: @plancanada | @biaagcan
Facebook: PlanCanada | Because I am a Girl Canada

About International Day of the Girl

In 2009, Plan International Canada led an extensive two-year campaign that engaged thousands of Canadians in a call for an International Day of the Girl as part of Because I am a Girl, a global initiative to end gender inequality and recognize girls' rights as human rights. In December 2011, with unanimous all-party support, the Canadian government led the United Nations to officially declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl.

About Plan International Canada

Plan International Canada is a member of a global organization dedicated to advancing children's rights and equality for girls. We have been building powerful partnerships for children for over 80 years and are now active in more than 70 countries. We are calling on all Canadians to Defy Normal: to believe in the power and potential of every child and to take a stand anywhere children are oppressed, exploited or left behind and anywhere girls aren't equally valued. Together, we can create a world where all unleash their full potential. Visit for more information and follow @PlanCanada on social media to #DefyNormal and join the conversation.

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Media contacts

Plan International Canada

Marie Visca
(437) 828-8895

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Jasleen Sembhi
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