Celebrating International Day of the Girl with #GirlUnlocked

By Catherine Rolfe
October 20, 2020

Today, girls and young women are facing closed doors and lost opportunities. Schools are shut down, and global economic distress has meant that cases of child marriage and human trafficking are increasing.

That’s why this year, Plan International USA rallied people from across the United States to join the Girl Unlocked movement, helping girls and young women push through doors to unlock their power and potential.

In honor of International Day of the Girl on October 11, we decorated our front doors with equal signs and messages of hope for girls and young women. We celebrated girls who took over positions of power in the public and private sectors through Takeovers. We prepared for the upcoming election by asking the presidential candidates to fight for gender equality, and evaluated our elected officials’ support for girls’ rights. We did a deep dive into online harassment and how it affects girls, and we hosted virtual events to raise money and awareness.

There are so many different ways to unlock girls’ potential. Here are five examples of how Plan supporters celebrated International Day of the Girl this year.

1. Participating in Takeovers

Girls around the world are taking over positions of power for International Day of the Girl (and beyond). This is more than just a day to shadow a CEO or government official. Takeovers put girls in the driver’s seat, giving them a day to actually make decisions in leadership roles. This year’s Takeovers in the United States included Postmates, The Female Quotient, Creative Artists Agency and, of course, Plan International USA!

2. Decorating their front doors

Lots of us aren’t going into the office every day like we used to — but you can still support girls’ rights from home! Individuals, families and businesses decorated their front doors in honor of Girl Unlocked to display their hopes for the next generation of girls, using everything from equal signs to inspirational quotes.

3. Unlocking the Vote

As we approach Election Day on November 3, people around the country have used Plan’s election resource center, Unlock the Vote, to evaluate their candidates’ records on girls’ rights and make informed decisions. You can also visit the site to check your voter registration status or sign our petition asking the presidential candidates to prioritize girls’ rights and gender equality. And, we’re partnering with theSkimm to share even more info and tools you need to vote.

4. Shining a light on online harassment

Read the latest State of the World’s Girls report to find out just how harmful — and common — online harassment is for girls. In fact, half of the girls Plan surveyed said they face more online harassment than street harassment. Plan published an open letter asking social media companies to enable stronger reporting for online gender-based violence. Hundreds of supporters have already added their names to amplify girls’ voices, and Instagram has already committed to hosting listening sessions with 15 youth activists from around the world.

5. Hosting events to spread the word

Plan and The Female Quotient partnered up to host a series of free interactive online sessions led by Plan youth advocates and female corporate executives to share insights on how they achieved personal and professional success, in an effort to inspire the next generation of girls to pursue their own passions and career goals. Meanwhile, Plan hosted a virtual event to update supporters on how COVID-19 is impacting girls around the world and what they can do to help. And, we partnered with the Kimberly-Clark Corp. to discuss challenging period perceptions around the world in honor of International Day of the Girl and the 100th anniversary of their Kotex brand.

Didn’t get a chance to participate in any of these activities? It’s not too late! You can still help girls unlock their power with a Gift of Hope.