Bayer Nordic is involved in Plan International’s #GirlsTakeover campaign, as girls step into the shoes of political, social and financial leaders as part of the UN’s International Day of the Girl (11 October). Bayer Nordic's CEO Miriam Holstein will hand over her job to 17-year-old Aada Sevón on 5 October.
#GirlsTakeover is part of Plan International’s campaign to bring girls' voices to the fore and challenge us to think about the status of girls. The theme is this year girls and knowledge and the impact of knowledge on equality.
This year marks the fifth time that #GirlsTakeover has been arranged in Finland. Last year, Plan's young representatives took over a total of eight leading positions; this year, they are taking over six positions*. Globally, girls have taken over more than 5,000 leadership positions in a total of 70 countries.
Bayer Nordic is taking part in the campaign for the first time.
- Increasing gender equality is a crucial factor in promoting economic and social development worldwide. Bayer is involved in the campaign to increase knowledge and thus the freedom of every girl to make decisions about their own bodies and their future, says Holstein.
Science dispels myths
Information about modern family planning options and contraception increases the opportunities and provides freedom to choose to study and work. This freedom is not only important from the perspective of girls' and women's health – it also increases independence and authority to make decisions over their own lives and has thus wider implications for families and communities as well.
- We believe in the power of science. There are a lot of harmful beliefs about sexual health, and contraception is also associated with myths. We work with international family planning organizations as well as various organizations and ministries of health in developing countries to improve access to preventive information, services and tools, says Holstein.
Sevón emphasizes the importance of knowledge as well. She joined #GirlsTakeover to highlight the huge potential of girls and the inequality that has increased around the world during the pandemic.
- I have a passion to change the world for the better, and #GirlsTakeover gives an excellent opportunity for that. Good sexual and reproductive health can change a person’s life, which is why Bayer is such an important partner in this project. I am intrigued how Bayer takes responsibility by sharing knowledge in addition to the work the company does with creating contraceptives. With proper knowledge, women and girls have a better understanding of their bodies and, for example, of their right to self-determination, says Sevón.
Heightened need for reliable information
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of reliable information has been further emphasized. At the same time, it has become more difficult to acquire reliable information when schools around the world have been closed or children have been studying remotely. The Internet is full of information, but its reliability is often difficult to assess.
- What also makes receiving information more difficult is that not everyone has equal access to the Internet and digital devices. Girls, in particular, are at risk of being left behind due to the pandemic. Although schools will be reopened all over the world at some point, many girls will never return to school. Many previous crises have demonstrated this,” says Ossi Heinänen, Secretary General at Plan International Finland.
* This year, Plan International Finland’s young representatives are working together with President of Finland Sauli Niinistö and taking over the positions of President at Sitra Jyrki Katainen, Editor-in-Chief at Yle Jouko Jokinen, CEO at Bayer Nordic Miriam Holstein, CEO at Neste Peter Vanacker and CEO at Duunitori Thomas Grönholm.
The theme of knowledge will be explored in slightly different ways during each takeover. For example, in companies the young representatives will also highlight the importance of diversity and reliable information in working life.