The International Day of the Girl celebrations brought together prominent representatives of the National Council of Monaco, the SheCanHeCan charitable organisation, the Government, Town Hall and students of local schools Lycée Albert 1er, FANB and the Lycée Technique.

The atmosphere at the National Council assembly hall was somewhat even more special given the fact that for the very first time in Monaco history, a woman President, Brigitte Boccone-Pagès, was chairing the meeting.

The International Day of the Girl was declared by the UN in 2011. It’s objective is to highlight the specific challenges confronting girls. The theme this year is “It’s Now: Our Rights, Our Future”.

“It is often said that equality is achieved, that progress has been made,” said Vibeke Thomsen, director of SheCanHeCan.

But the rights of girls and women continue to be constantly questioned: in Iran, and in Ukraine in the form of war crimes, she said, adding that women continue to be underrepresented in positions with high responsibilities and are often paid less for the same job and to be victims of male violence against them.

SheCanHeCan aims to inspire and support girls to take leadership roles also by encouraging all individuals to challenge deeply-held, life-limiting gender stereotypes and to realise their full potential.

“There are also boys who participate in this initiative” continues Vibeke, “because it is also essential – even if I am sure it seems obvious to you – that they understand that the place of women is in the highest spheres of political, economic and social life.”

The president of the National Council welcomed the mixed group of young participants. “Why young men, you will say to me, since we are talking girls? Quite simply because they are essential for fighting  the discrimination suffered by girls and women and are of course invited to join the global movement relayed today in Monaco, to obtain equality between girls and boys.”

President of the Commission for the Rights of Women and the Family Nathalie Amoretti-Blanc concluded that “at all levels of state and society, the Principality is now at the forefront in terms of promoting equality, in connection with the Committee for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women, but also with the commitment of many associations at the forefront of which today stand SheCanHeCan: we all continue the journey together.”

PHOTO: Martina Brodie