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Caroline Riseboro

Caroline Riseboro Caroline Riseboro

My Vision for the future

Patsy in the field

I believe that we can and must do better than normal.

Our normal is a world where no matter their circumstances, girls and women face a wall of resistance in their struggle for equality.

But I also believe that we have the power to stand in defiance of this system that persistently tells women and girls they are not equal to men. And I don’t mean just parts or pieces of the system -- we cannot stop until every bias, every patriarchal law, every toxic norm is pulled down. Until every obstacle is levelled, and every ceiling is smashed.

My goal as CEO & President for Plan International Canada is to inspire Canadians to build a future where women and men, girls and boys can enjoy power with each other, rather than power over each other, and where everyone can draw strength from the power within themselves.


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The future is feminist

Caroline Riseboro holding child

Normal is men and boys leading and women and girls following. Normal is men and boys holding seats of power and influence. Normal is entrenched and outdated policies and laws that systematically exclude women and girls from leadership roles.

Over generations, patriarchal structures and institutions have only served to reiterate the prevailing and innate bias toward male leadership.

We need to redefine and reimagine leadership and executive roles. As they exist now, they are a product of the patriarchal systems that created them. We need to stop trying to make women fit into moulds made for and by men and start re-shaping the system to better elevate women of all diversities and backgrounds.

It's not just about refusing to go backward. It's about blazing an unapologetic and unrelenting path forward for women in leadership.

The future is young

Caroline Riseboro holding child

Normal is the powerful few shaping the future for those who follow them. Normal is youth, especially young women and girls, shut out of the decisions that will define their world. Normal is older generations underestimating, ignoring, and excluding younger generations.

In the coming years, the population under the age of 30 in the most fragile and unstable countries is going to spike. Adolescent girls in particular are in an incredibly important yet fragile position. They are deeply impacted by the decisions leaders make, yet often disregarded in important discussions.

But young people, and especially young girl activists, and are defying this normal. One of the most important truths I have learned as CEO & President of Plan International Canada is the awesome and unstoppable power of youth to change our world.

Rather than wait for government or companies to take the lead, these youth are rejecting what they’ve inherited (sexism, racism, bigotry, cynicism) and creating something new. Something deeply rooted in equality, openness and optimism.

They’ve got this. What they need from us is our support, belief and hope.

The future is loud

Normal is the powerful taking up space, while marginalized people are kept on the edges. Normal is the systematic silencing of vulnerable voices.

But if the #MeToo movement has taught us anything, it is the power of breaking silence with stories.

We need to stop thinking of vulnerable and excluded women and girls simply as beneficiaries of change, but instead as change agents with stories and solutions to share.

Caroline Riseboro speaking at G7 event

Wherever possible, Plan is committed to building agency and helping to unleash the potential and power of women, girls and children. We believe in creating platforms for telling and promoting the stories of those who have not traditionally had a platform from which to speak.

It’s time for us to help raise up new voices, new narratives and new visions of the future.