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Girls deserve equality. Empowerment. The opportunity to fulfil their potential. And International Day of the Girl on Friday 11 October aims to highlight the challenges they face in claiming those rights.

Two of our biggest brands – Sunsilk and Dove – are marking the event. They’re using their global reach to shatter outdated stereotypes about girls’ abilities and ambitions and teach girls the power of strong self-esteem.

They’ve also got some brilliant role models on board: young women who have spoken out, broken boundaries and are determined to help others do the same. Read on to find out more about them.

Thai DJ Mendy Indigo

Opening up possibilities for girls everywhere

Hair brand Sunsilk is on a mission to inspire girls to dream of a future full of possibility, unlimited by what society says they should or can’t do.

The brand has teamed up with the International Center for Research on Women to publish a white paper which underlines the global challenges girls and young women are facing and what Sunsilk is doing to help.

Sunsilk’s Explore More! education programme in Thailand and Pakistan, in partnership with NGO Girl Rising, visits girls in schools, equipping them with the skills to identify their strengths, re-imagine their goals, and exercise agency to achieve them. In 2020 the Explore More! programme will be expanded to schools in Argentina, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam with the aim of reaching 50,000 more students.

Sunsilk is also using digital platforms to make an impact. Its #Juntasarrasamos app in Brazil (it means ‘Together We Rock’ in Portuguese) is a thriving interactive platform where girls can explore inspirational content by real-life role models and take part in games and quizzes that help develop their skill sets. To date the app has already reached more than 350,000 girls.

The brand’s ads and campaigns are reaching millions of young women with positive messages too. Across the globe, Sunsilk ads showcase female role models who go beyond social conventions to excel in their dreams. In time for International Day of the Girl, Sunsilk has launched its Rethink Pink campaign in Argentina. It celebrates what ‘Pink’ means – standing for possibilities instead of limitations, and features key role models such as Argentinian professional footballer Maca Sanchez.

Meet some of the brilliant young women supporting Sunsilk’s campaigns below.

Girls in a classroom

Building self-esteem worldwide

Since 2004, the Dove Self-Esteem Project has helped bring body confidence and self-esteem education to more than 35 million young people globally. It’s on track to reach 40 million by the end of 2020, as the world’s largest provider of self-esteem and body confidence programming.

It’s making this massive impact through educational tools delivered in partnership with schools, youth organisations, parents and mentors. Having low body confidence and self-esteem holds young girls back. These tools ensure the next generation can grow up to enjoy a positive relationship with the way they look, which has a positive impact on their wellbeing and happiness.

Dove Day, which coincides with the International Day of the Girl, is an annual event where Unilever employees all over the world have a chance to get involved in the brand’s social mission. 2019 marks the seventh year running that they have been invited to volunteer their time to experience the impact of the Dove Self-Esteem Project first hand by helping to run workshops in local schools.

This year, employees from more than 30 different countries are taking part, facilitating workshops to reach more than 20,000 young people. In London and South-East England alone, more than 180 employees and agency partners are visiting seven schools to conduct 60 workshops for 1,600 students over two days.

The Dove Self-Esteem Project’s Free Being Me partnership with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is also reaching millions of girls with self-esteem and body confidence education, and inspiring young women to have their voices heard. Since 2013, ‘Free Being Me’ has reached 6 million young people in 128 countries.

In 2017, WAGGGS and Dove launched a new Action on Body Confidence badge. Girl Guides and Girl Scouts can earn the badge by addressing the issue of body confidence in their communities. They’re encouraged to use their advocacy skills to share their knowledge on the issue, show they refuse to be defined by their looks, and inspire girls around them with their passion.

Read about some of their experiences below.

Photo of DJ Mendy Indigo by IsoPixel for Latitudes Magazine

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