On Wednesday, 6 October 2021, 16-year-old Nella Salminen worked alongside President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö as part of the #GirlsTakeover campaign organised by Plan International. This year, the purpose of the campaign is to highlight the impact of information on gender equality.
The day began at Mäntyniemi, where President Niinistö and Salminen participated in the Reuters IMPACT virtual global conference arranged by the international news agency Reuters. The three-day event brought together world leaders, representatives of large businesses and international influencers to discuss climate change.
The topics of President Niinistö’s and Salminen’s interview were climate action and responsibility toward future generations. In the discussion, President Niinistö referred to human responsibilities, our responsibility for our common future. “It is our duty to hand the world on to future generations in at least the condition in which we ourselves inherited it.”
According to Salminen, there is a lot of talk about climate change. It would be important, however, to involve young people in the discussion, as climate change will impact their future in particular. “There is no plan B, because planet B does not exist”, she stated. “The opportunity to demand stronger measures from others to combat climate change also requires Finland to take action on its own”, the President continued.
At Mäntyniemi, President Niinistö and Salminen also met with Member of Parliament Eva Biaudet, Chair of the National Council of Women of Finland. Discussions focused particularly on the conveyance of gender-equal and reliable information and the development of media and digital literacy skills.
At the Presidential Palace, Salminen spoke with members of the Cabinet of the President of the Republic of Finland and viewed the Palace premises. At the end of the day, she gave a video speech on gender equality and information. In her speech, she stressed that it was everyone’s responsibility to make sure that girls receive reliable information. “Let’s work together to protect the rights of girls every day – because we know how to, because we can and because we are important.”
Girls Takeover is part of the celebration of the UN’s International Day of the Girl, in which girls around the world step into the shoes of leaders in different sectors of society. This is the fifth time the campaign has been arranged in Finland. In addition to President Niinistö, this year it also involved Jyrki Katainen, President of Sitra; Jouko Jokinen, director and editor-in-chief of Yle’s Finnish-language news, current affairs, sport and regional programming; Miriam Holstein, President and CEO at Bayer Nordic Region; Peter Vanacker, President and CEO of Neste; and Thomas Grönholm, CEO & Founder at Duunitori.