Dancing Against Violence: Canada Supports Girls’ Rights in Mongolia

Girls practice a flash mob dance routine

Girls practice a flash mob dance routine

Junior police club members show solidarity for girls’ rights

Girls practice a flash mob dance routine

Canada spent several months promoting the rights of girls in Mongolia, speaking out against violence and supporting projects related to the International Day of the Girl Child through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.

Aiming to bring the voices of girls to the ears of the country’s decision-makers, the Canadian Embassy supported the Princess Centre of Mongolia in engaging thousands of girls and young women in the protection of their rights, through a campaign called Girls are Not the Target of Violence.

A day-long Young Women’s Voice Forum brought hundreds of participants together to tackle the issue, allowing girls the opportunity to communicate directly with those in positions of power. At the forum, young women pushed for better support and more accessible services for girls who fall victim to sexual violence.

The campaign also raised awareness of the risks of early pregnancy and the tragedy of life-threatening abortions. The campaign distributed thousands of pamphlets, buttons, posters and powerful videos in which Mongolian girls spoke out against harassment, discrimination and violence.

The campaign also curated a photo exhibition to document the seriousness of violence in schools, domestic and sexual violence, street harassment and assault, and the influence of patriarchy on Mongolian girls’ lives.

The photo exhibition featured 100 photos that were collected during the Beautiful Hearts Campaign, presented by the Princess Centre and supported by the Canada Fund. It has since been invited to be exhibited in Japan.

The Canadian funding also helped the campaign distribute thousands of pamphlets, buttons and posters, and to produce a powerful video in which Mongolian girls shared their experiences and spoke out against threats and violence.

Flash mobs played a big part in the campaign, and videos capturing them are available on YouTube. The flash mobs involved girls at 42 different schools dancing to a song composed especially for the campaign, “We Are Not a Doll”.

The flash mobs and the testimonial video were both featured on Mongolian television stations and chronicled elsewhere in the media.

Around the world, young women are standing up for their rights to live safe and healthy lives. Canada is committed to the social and economic empowerment of women, and works to combat violations of women’s rights such as child, early and forced marriages and sexual assault. There remains much work to do, but initiatives such as this serve as inspiration in the pursuit of rights for women worldwide.