Just when you think we’ve become apathetic, overwhelmed or fatigued in the face of global challenges, people surprise you. When change seems impossible, people rise to the occasion.

Across the world we’ve seen people mobilising to stand up for their fellow humans. An astounding, awe-inspiring number of people. A diverse, peaceful, passionate group of people demanding their rights and the rights of others. Because those rights are the same rights, and if we don’t have the same rights as others then it’s to the detriment of us all.

Taking to the streets is a powerful form of activism and an important tool when it comes to creating change. Having our say and standing up for our rights is fundamental to a healthy democracy. When we have a chance to participate, it’s our responsibility to take it.

We’re lucky that here in Australia we have a host of ways that we can take action. Sometimes we march or sign a petition or call our local member of parliament. Sometimes we don’t feel heard, and we have to step up, join forces and speak louder.

In the US, and example that’s front of mind at the moment, voting is a choice that almost half of eligible voters didn’t make. Yet any chance to participate and have our say should be embraced.

It’s a difficult thing to write about a Foreign Policy White Paper in a compelling way. But our government has asked us, the people of Australia, to have our say in what our country’s role in the world should be. That’s hugely important. Because having our say now could shape our future, our children’s future, and mean that they don’t have to take to the streets to once again fight for the rights they should always have access to.

We see it as our responsibility here at Plan International to advocate for the rights of girls in particular. Because girls are still marginalised across the globe, yet when they can’t realise their rights, it impacts our ability to overcome challenges facing all of us. Our experience tells us this is how we can tackle poverty and truly make it history. It’s one of the biggest challenges and opportunities for change that we face.

It’s frustrating, actually it’s infuriating, that here we are still fighting to say that all people have equal rights. But every opportunity we get to stand for those rights is a step closer to seeing them realised. A march by itself won’t create change, nor a call to your MP, or organising in your community or signing a petition or clicking a link or even making a submission to the government on this white paper. But those actions combined can.

We’ll continue to update you on what action you can take to amplify the voice of children, girls, young people, vulnerable people everywhere. Their rights are your rights.

Right now, this is how you can stand with them.

  1. Make your own White Paper submission that makes sure girls are on the government’s foreign policy agenda.
  2. If you’re short on time you can take 60 seconds to contribute to the Campaign for Australian Aid paper by sharing what issues matter to you.

Together, bit by bit, action by action we can create tremendous change, but only if we take every opportunity to do it.

To stay up-to-date on how you can stand with girls around the world sign up to be a part of Because I am a Girl.

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