Teen becomes Finland’s PM for the day

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Prime Minister Sanna Marin has taken the fight to end the gender gap one step further and let a 16-year-old girl fill her seat for the day.

Aava Murto may not be making any new laws on Wednesday, but she is meeting politicians throughout the day to highlight women’s rights in technology.

The swap comes ahead of the UN’s Day of the Girl, and is part of a global campaign by a children’s charity.

It is the fourth year Finland has taken part in Plan International’s “Girls Takeover”, which allows teenagers from countries from across the globe to step into the shoes of leaders in politics and other sectors for a day.

This year’s focus is on promoting digital skills and technological opportunities for girls, with Kenya, Peru, Sudan and Vietnam among the countries holding their own swaps.

“It is a pleasure to be speaking here before you today – although, in a way, I wish that I did not have to stand here, that campaigns like the Girls’ Takeover were no longer necessary,” Miss Murto said in a speech on Wednesday.

“However, the truth is that we have not yet achieved gender equality – not anywhere on earth. Although we have accomplished a great lot of good in this area, there is still much work that needs to be done. “

The teenager, who actively campaigns on climate and human rights issues, applied to take part in the scheme. She will round off the day by meeting the prime minister to discuss gender equality in technology on Wednesday evening.

image captionAava Murto speaks to the press as part of her day as Finland’s prime minister

Speaking ahead of the event, Finland’s Prime Minister Marin stressed the importance of ensuring technologies are made “accessible to everyone”, adding: “They must not deepen the digital divide between countries or within societies.”

Last year, Finland came third in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report. However, women remain under-represented in the technology sector.

Ms Marin became the world’s youngest prime minister when she was sworn in last year at the age of 34.

She is the Finland’s third female prime minister and leads a centre-left coalition with four other parties – all headed by women, three of whom are under 35.

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