What can make your life more meaningful? Aava Murto, only 16 years old, decided to pursue meaning by actively campaigning on gender equality issues. Recently, the girl from southern Finland did this in an unexpected way.
On Oct 7, she became the country’s prime minister for one day. As she took the seat of Finnish PM Sanna Marin, she met politicians to spread her message that girls “need to realize more how important they are, and how they are just as good at technology as boys,” she told AFP.
This was part of an international campaign called Girls Takeover, which aims to raise more awareness of gender equality. It invites girls across the globe to step into the shoes of leaders in different sectors of society for a day, according to the BBC. This year the focus is on promoting digital skills and technological opportunities for girls. Countries like Kenya, Peru, Sudan and Vietnam will also hold their own swaps.
Finland always tops lists for gender equality and is now on its fourth year taking part in Girls Takeover. This year, the young campaigner Aava Murto also posted her speech on Finland’s government website to decry gender stereotypes about technology.
According to Murto, girls around the world fear being rejected and discriminated against for getting involved in IT and technology.
As Murto explained in the speech, if a girl says she plays video games, she is often considered weird. On the other hand, if a boy says he does not play video games or have a game console, he is considered weird for that reason.
Murto said that inequality affects many girls globally and impacts their lives in a variety of ways. As girls are pushed aside from using and developing technology, they are more than just victims. Saying that “Girls, too, have a digital future,” Murto called for more help so that many issues can be solved.
Speaking ahead of the event, Prime Minister Marin also stressed the importance of ensuring technologies are made “accessible to everyone”, adding that “they must not deepen the digital divide between countries or within societies.”