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International Women’s Day: New Initiative To Empower Girls To Become Unstoppable Women

A new ‘Girls Unstoppable’ programme has its sights on freeing up girls in China, Indonesia, Mexico and Vietnam from chores and care work and getting them into girls clubs to meet, play, and gain confidence to campaign about issues important to them.

Launching on International Women’s Day, the programme by the LEGO Group, the LEGO Foundation and Save the Children will directly support over 10,000 girls aged between 10 and 13 by setting up clubs and workshops where they can learn how to advocate for their rights.

Girls are often discouraged from being outspoken or ambitious, whilst boys are encouraged and rewarded for speaking up, according to Save the Children analysis from China, Indonesia, Mexico and Vietnam, June 2023. The analysis also showed that girls did more unpaid work in the home and were deprived of time to learn, play, and explore their creativity and build friendships. Siska-, 13 from, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia said:

"My friends and I, especially the girls, have limited access to play. I have two friends from my class who rarely play with me because they must sweep the house and clean dirty dishes at home. As girls, it is expected of them."

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Lili-, 11, from China, said:

" Play makes me have more time to stay with my friends and our relationship will be deeper and deeper. And I also can learn from my friends during play."

The ‘Girls Unstoppable’ programme will work with schools and girls clubs, creating new girls clubs where they don’t exist.

Mai-, 11, Vietnam, is a proactive leader in her child led group, she said:

"I used to have stage fright when speaking in front of many people but now I no longer shy away from it. I can freely express myself and whenever I do that, I feel like I am shining."

Girls will have the opportunity to decide on topics for workshops and trainings, such as knowing your rights, staying safe, making informed decisions, and campaign planning.

Activities will be adapted to the local context. Mexico campaign strategies are being developed to support girls that belong to indigenous communities and other vulnerable groups. Children across all four countries will be encouraged to write a journal, where they can document their thoughts and feelings to support their mental wellbeing.

In addition to empowering girls, the programme also breaks down gender barriers and addresses cultural norms, which prevent girls from reaching their full potential.

Olivia-, 11, from Puebla, Mexico, thinks that teachers don’t listen to what girls have to say. She said:

"Above all, many more stereotypes have been imposed on females than on men and much harsher, so women are always oppressed, guarded, taking care of the children and not going out or leading."

The activities in the four countries will also be used to raise global awareness about the barriers that girls face in accessing their rights and how to overcome them, so girls’ and women’s rights are respected at all levels in societies.

Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, CEO at Save the Children Denmark, said:

"We believe in the power of play to unlock a child's potential. Through Girls Unstoppable, we aim to inspire and support girls in developing critical skills that will contribute to their personal and societal development.

"Girls Unstoppable will not only empower girls but also break down gender barriers and cultural norms inhibiting their growth individually and as a group. Save the Children is proud to partner with the LEGO Group and the LEGO Foundation in this transformative programme."

In addition to the 10,000 girls reached directly, the programme will directly support around 5,000 boys, around 2,000 teachers, and around 1,000 community members through initiatives such as workshops and trainings, to create long-lasting change. ‘Girls Unstoppable’ will indirectly reach over 330,000 girls, boys, caregivers, teachers and community members through advocacy and awareness campaigns. Around 2.2 million people will be reached via online activities, such as social media campaigns.

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