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Meet Aava Murto, the 16-year-old girl who became Finland's Prime Minister for a day

As part of Plan International's Girls Takeover project, the 16-year-old swapped roles with Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin.

Meet Aava Murto, the 16-year-old girl who became Finland's Prime Minister for a day
Image Source: Twitter/ FinGovernment

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has taken her commitment to closing the gender gap in Finland a step further. On Wednesday, she was replaced by 16-year-old Aava Murto. While she may not have passed any laws, the teenager definitely discovered a thing or two about leadership and politics. She spent the day meeting politicians to highlight women's rights in technology. The new initiative is part of a global campaign by Plan International called the "Girls Takeover" program, BBC News reports. Countries participating in the program allow young girls to step into the shoes of political leaders for an entire day as a way to encourage girls to consider diverse career opportunities.




This year, Girls Takeover is focusing on promoting digital skills and technological opportunities. Nations such as Kenya, Peru, Sudan, and Vietnam plan to hold their own swaps during this period. Meanwhile, 16-year-old Murto rounded off her day in politics by meeting the Prime Minister to discuss gender equality in technology. "It is a pleasure to be speaking here before you today—although, in a way, I wish that I did not have to stand here, that campaigns like the Girls' Takeover were no longer necessary," she said in a speech. "However, the truth is that we have not yet achieved gender equality—not anywhere on earth. Although we have accomplished a great lot of good in this area, there is still much work that needs to be done."




The teen, who had to apply to take part in the Girls Takeover project, actively campaigns on climate and human rights issues. She shares some of her strong opinions on gender equality with Prime Minister Marin, who spoke ahead of the event. She highlighted the importance of making sure all technologies are made "accessible to everyone." The leader affirmed, "They must not deepen the digital divide between countries or within societies." In addition to making Finland a better place for women, Marin herself is the manifestation of what is possible in a society that treats women with respect. At the age of 34, she is the country's youngest Prime Minister. She is also the third woman to assume the position. She leads at present a center-left coalition with four other parties, all of which are headed by women. Three of them are under the age of 35.




It comes as no surprise therefore that Finland came third in the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report last year. However, as young Murto reiterated, there is still more to do; the nation's women remain underrepresented in the technology sector. Therefore, projects like Plan International's Girls Takeover become even more imperative.



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