Girls Take Over
October 11th, 2019

On the International Day of the Girl, October 11th, more than 1,000 girls in over 60 countries took over the roles of leaders and influencers in a global display of their power and potential.

Across the world, girls stepped into the shoes of presidents, mayors, business leaders and more to show that girls should be free to dream and free to lead.

Here in Ireland, young women on our Youth Advisory Panel staged take-overs with; Lord Mayor of Dublin Paul McAuliffe, Joe Duffy, CEO of BNY Mellon Bank, Tara McMorrow, Associate Dean of Science at UCD and the Director General’s Office at Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Aoife, Emily, and Grace, met leaders in positions of power to engage on key issues that affect girls in Ireland and across the developing world.

Even today, across the world, one girl every two seconds is forced to marry before the age of 18. Girls are more likely to be out of school. So these young women have urged leaders to tear down the barriers that stand in the way of girls realising their rights, because everyone has a role to play in closing the gap between what girls are capable of – and what they are allowed to be.

Challenging the barriers

Because women are underrepresented in politics, finance and science, the takeovers are to campaign for women to have proper access to leadership and decision-making in areas where they are not usually visible.

Aoife took over the position of CEO at BNY Mellon

Only 6% of the CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies are female. Aoife, who took over as CEO of BNY Mellon from Joe Duffy, had a great discussion about how to remove the barriers that women face getting into senior management roles.

“I’m delighted to celebrate International Day of the Girl with Plan International and to have  Aoife “takeover” at BNY Mellon. It’s an honour to support the great work of Plan International who are working tirelessly to campaign for girls’ rights and keep girls in school.” said Joe Duffy, CEO of BNY Mellon.

Emily took over as Lord Mayor of Dublin for the morning, and discussed the representation of women in politics and the importance of
education for girls.

Emily took over as Lord Mayor of Dublin (and even got to wear the Chain of Office!)

She even went on RTE News2Day to chat about her experience.

Grace (left) and Aoife (right) took over the UCD Science department from Prof. Tara McMorrow and discussed the barriers to girls studying and working in science.

Promoting girls' rights across the world

Whilst we celebrate the achievements made in advancing gender equality, it is also an important day to highlight the issues that girls face. Around the world, adolescent girls face the brunt of poverty and inequality.

Aoife and Grace met with the lead on Gender Equality at Irish Aid, Shane Keenan, and Emer Groarke in Policy Unit, with responsibility for Human Rights and Women, Peace and Security. They discussed issues including lack of access to education and child marriage that stop girls from realising their rights.

Grace (left) and Aoife (right) took over at Irish Aid

For more of the action from the day check out #GirlsTakeover and #DayoftheGirl on our Twitter and Instagram.

Click here to find out more about our Day of the Girls celebrations.


Together we can ensure that girls are not left behind – and can enjoy true gender equality.


Over 1,000 takeovers in more than 60 countries