Interview Anne Bideau – International Day of the Girl

26 October 2022

Anne Bideau, Executive Director of Plan International France, answers the Foundation's questions and talks about the campaign for girls' rights.



Can you introduce yourself?

After several years as the Director of Solidarités International offices in Indonesia, Liberia and Macedonia, I joined the French Red Cross in 2006. First, I oversaw the regional office of the organization in Asia, then in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. Later on, I was in charge of the technical expertise and emergency response department for international operations. Finally, I was the Director of volunteer activities and engagement for France. In July 2021, I took over the management of the NGO Plan International France.



Can you introduce Plan International France?

Plan International France is an independent international solidarity organization, member of the Plan International network, which works for the defense of children’s rights. Created in 1993, Plan International France fights for the respect of children’s rights, particularly those of girls. In the context of development or in emergency situations, Plan International France intervenes in Asia, Africa and Latin America and supports children and their communities with sustainable solutions adapted to their needs.

To implement its programs, the NGO can count on the support of 32,000 sponsors belonging to a loyal community of more than 40,000 donors, on committed companies and foundations, as well as on public grants.

In France, Plan International France also lobbies political and institutional decision-makers and raises public awareness of girls’ rights and international solidarity issues.


What is your assessment of girls’ rights around the world?

Even today, being born and being a girl does not offer the same opportunities, the same conditions, the same life perspectives as those of a boy.

School drop-out, excision, street harassment, online harassment, forced marriages, sexist and sexual violence, early pregnancies… Girls’ consent is ignored, they are victims of inequalities, exclusion, discrimination, and violence, which hinders their rights, their emancipation and has serious consequences on their lives:

  • 12 million girls are married each year, nearly 1 girl every 2 seconds
  • 200 million girls and women have been excised worldwide. 2 million cases of genital mutilation could occur by 2030, whereas they could be avoided
  • In France, 82% of women began experiencing street harassment before the age of 17. Of these, 65% claim to have been harassed before the age of 15.
  • In 2020, 58% of girls aged 15 to 25 have already been victims of harassment or abuse on social networks.


How is Plan International working for girls’ rights around the world?

Plan International works locally with communities through development and mentoring programs, as well as emergency humanitarian aid. These actions aim to enable girls to know and defend their rights, to improve their access to safe, quality education and vocational training, and to enable them to decide for themselves about their future. We ensure that boys, families, teachers, and local authorities are included to change attitudes and gender relations in communities.

Plan International also works to influence public policy and advocate with decision-makers at local, government and international levels for laws that protect girls’ rights. As a result of Plan International’s work, child marriage has been banned in over 10 countries:

  • Zimbabwe in 2016
  • El Salvador, Niger, Malawi, Guatemala, Honduras in 2017
  • Tanzania and Mozambique in 2019
  • In Dominican Republic in 2021
  • In the Philippines in January 2022

Our advocacy work in France and internationally is helping to raise awareness of the importance of promoting girls’ rights and gender equality, and the role of education in achieving this.


Why was the International Day for the Girl created? What does Plan International do on this day?

Even today, girls’ rights are violated, and their consent ignored. Discrimination, gender-based violence and inequality prevent girls from becoming free women. That is why in 2012, at the initiative of Plan International, the UN recognized 11 October as the International Day for the Girls. On the 10th edition of this day, the NGO Plan International France alerts on the non-respect of girls’ consent and launches the mobilization campaign “We didn’t say yes” to say STOP to gender-based violence and YES to the respect of their consent in France and in the world.

To find out more about Plan International’s campaign.

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