Runa, a youth activist and community volunteer promoting girls’ rights, took over the Swedish Embassy in a symbolic event in Bangladesh for a day on Monday to advocate for girls’ rights, equal opportunities and equal chances.
The takeover is a part of the global #GirlsTakeover campaign, a signature activity of Plan International, according to a press statement.
Plan International rolls out this activity every year throughout the world, including Bangladesh, marking the International Day of Girls on October 11 under its Girls Get Equal campaign calling for increased investment in girls’ power, activism and leadership.
This year, throughout October, Plan International Bangladesh is going to mobilise about 70 #GirlsTakeover in leading roles within politics, governance, diplomacy, business, etc. all over the country to promote equality, freedom, and representation for girls and young women.
Runa, the Swedish Ambassador for the day, who is also a sponsored child of Plan International Bangladesh, expressed her excitement saying,
“In my community, girls often don’t realise that they also have the potential to take high positions, lead and make changes. As I take over the position today, I feel the confidence that I can also develop skills as a leader. In that way, I can hopefully inspire and empower other girls and help improve opportunities for girls, especially when it comes to this year’s theme, digital literacy.”
Runa is also a member of a youth group where she works with adolescents and youth to promote education for children and the rights of girls and advocates against child marriage.
Following Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy that aims to promote gender equality and all women’s and girls’ full enjoyment of human rights, the Swedish Embassy took part in this Girls Takeover, showing its commitment to promote gender equality and girls’ empowerment.
Sweden Ambassador to Bangladesh Alex Berg von Linde said, “On the International Day of the Girl Child, we celebrate the power and potential of girls- in challenging stereotypes, breaking gender barriers and demanding change. But we also need to recognise the big obstacles that remain. Girls are often the first victims when human rights are violated – in real life and online.”
Girls are increasingly engaged in internet platforms around the world, where they are exposed to diluted information, causing them mental and physical harm. This animosity prevents girls from taking on leadership roles in the larger movement for gender equality.
The #GIRLSTAKEOVER campaign by Plan International is a powerful statement about the empowerment of girls. Girls can revolutionise their lives and communities when they are given equal opportunities and equal chances in life.
Among the other positions which have been and will be taken over by girls from different areas all over Bangladesh are Mayor of Rangpur City Corporation, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police of Barisal, Barisal Metropolitan Police, UP Chairman in Rangamati and Teknaf of Cox’s Bazar and Deputy Director of District Social Service Office in Sylhet.