Plan International has conducted girl ‘takeovers’ around the world, where groups of young women shadow people in power (in government and big tech companies) to help alter this perception.
But both Helen and Hayley agree we all have a role to play when it comes to fostering strong young women.
Helen suggests adults and parents try to educate young women to access their smartphones and the media in an informed way – and outside the confines of scrolling.
“There are so many great apps and websites that [young people] can use on their smartphones,” says Helen. “Mental health apps such as Headspace – that’s free and accessible – will help them broaden their smartphone and social media experience.
“Another thing that can be incorporated is teaching young girls that lots of the images we see in the media are actually doctored and airbrushed,” she says. “Making it clear that that’s an unrealistic thing to attain and work towards can be helpful.”
Hayley hopes gathering data and making public calls to action will help young girls believe change is possible.
“When we had girls shadowing MPs in Parliament House this week,” she says, “it broke down the barriers for those girls. It’s shown them that girls belong in Parliament House – that it’s a place where they can feel confident and aspire to be.”