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Girls taking over

The ACT girls taking over, with 24 participants of the Girls Run the World program set to “take over” 12 embassies across Canberra on Wednesday 24 October.

First year university students and co-chairs of Girls Run the World, Asha Clementi, co-founder of the Girls Leadership Network, and Imogen Brewer-De Nicola, say the program is about giving women opportunities in the space of diplomacy and international relations.

“It’s so hard to get into these spaces; giving them the opportunity is so important especially for young women,” Ms Clementi says.

“The diplomatic community is so incredibly diverse … there’s a place for everybody in this space.”

After participating in similar activities before, Ms Clementi and Ms Brewer-De Nicola put together a team of five to give more people the same opportunity.

Women aged 18-22 were invited to apply for the program, with 24 selected to attend 12 embassies for the day. During the day, the participants will be immersed in embassy life.

“Each girl going into the embassy is going to get a chance to see what that embassy is like in Australia,” Ms Clementi says.

“We want them to have actual skills… not [have this be] tokenistic,” adds Ms Brewer-De Nicola.

Whilst the schedule for each venue will vary, it is expected that participants will get to experience life at the embassy through a range of activities such as touring the embassies, engaging with key areas and employees, shadowing employees and social media. Participants are encouraged to think about issues affecting women and girls in Australia, and the role of an ambassador. Participants attended a training day over the weekend where representatives from the Canadian High Commission ran a session on diplomacy.

“The participants need to prepare a goal for what they want to achieve on the day … they need to take it into their own hands.”

Girls aren’t just taking over embassies, either. Last week, gender equality organisation Jasiri ran a “take over” of the ACT Legislative Assembly, where 19 young women “took over” the office of an elected official, coinciding with the International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October.

“It is so critical that our parliament reflects us as both Canberrans and Australians and we’d love to see more young women representing our voices,” said Jasiri co-founder, Ashleigh Streeter-Jones.

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