To mark the United Nations’ International Day of the Girl Child today, 11 October, the #Girl2Leader programme is connecting girls with female mentors in politics.
Women Political Leaders (WPL), a global network of women politicians, launched the #Girl2Leader campaign on 22 October 2017. This year the initiative will continue, enabling girls between the ages of 14 and 17 with political ambitions to connect with accomplished female politicians who can share their personal experiences and offer advice on the best steps to take to begin a career in politics, as well as guidance on dealing with adversity. Promoting the #Girl2Leader campaign, WPL says: ‘Sharing the personal experience of women political leaders shows that a woman’s place is in politics.’
The #Girl2Leader initiative has garnered the support of a wealth of female politicians on social media; and will be accompanied by a range of events on International Day of the Girl Child and following days in countries including Albania, Cambodia, Canada, Ghana, Guinea, Malaysia, Monaco, Malta, Romania, Rwanda and Ukraine. Events held under the #Girl2Leader umbrella in 2018 were attended by more than 1,500 girls, with one event at the European Parliament in Brussels hosted by 12 female MEPs.
Silvana Koch-Mehrin, President and founder of WPL, said: “The political system is a male-dominated environment which does not make it easy for women. If experience is the best teacher, testimonies of female political leaders from around the world can inspire the next generation of female leaders. Every woman leader was once a little girl, with dreams and ambitions. Role models can be crucial when becoming a politician. WPL #Girl2Leader’s International Day of the Girl can serve as a stepping stone for future female politicians.”
Nearly 80% of the world’s parliamentary representatives are men, rising to more than 80% among cabinet members; and fewer than 7% of the world’s heads of state are women. The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2018 indicated that the increase in female political representation has recently begun to plateau, highlighting the need for more women in politics.