A 16-year old social media campaigner, Aava Murto, took on the role of Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin for one day, a move to promote girls’ rights.
Using the opportunity, the teenager called for more girls to be taught digital skills and step-up against online violence and gender stereotypes about technology.
The Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin, stepped aside to let 16-year-old take her place for a day on Wednesday.
According to Murto, girls around the world fear being excluded and discriminated against for getting involved in IT and technology.
“If a girl says she plays video games, she is often considered weird,” Murto said in a speech posted on the government website. “If, on the other hand, a boy says he does not play video games or have a game console, he is considered weird for that reason.”
The teenager also warned of online violence that restricts girls’ access to information.
“I have spoken to female friends my age about online harassment, and it turns out that they have all been asked for nude pictures and they have all been sent nude pictures against their will,” Murto said.
October 11 is marked as the United Nations International Day of the Girl Child.
Finland, along with other Nordic countries, regularly secures the top position when it comes to women’s rights. The Wednesday swap was part of an international campaign dubbed Girls Takeover, which comes ahead of the UN Girls Day on Sunday.
In 1906, even before gaining independence from Russia, the Grand Duchy of Finland became the first territory in the world where all women had legal rights to vote and run at the elections. Its current prime minister, the 34-year-old Saana Marin, was the youngest head of government when taking over the office last year.
However, even in Finland, there are still significantly fewer women in technology firms and top boardrooms.
In her speech, Murto warned that girls in developing countries are often “excluded from the digital skills and know-how that could enable them to have a safer, better future.”
“Inequality affects many of us girls globally and impacts our lives in a variety of ways,” Murto said on Wednesday.
“That said, we girls are more than just victims, we represent enormous potential. With our help, many issues can be solved.”
During her one-day tenure as the country’s top leader, Murto met with Marin, as well the minister for development and trade and the country’s chancellor of justice. Murto also spoke to the media, telling them she had “an exciting day.”