Canadian Women’s Foundation launches #GirlPowered, by girls for girls

Integrated campaign allows girls to create positive, empowering messages,
raising confidence and self-esteem

October 11, 2016 – Every day, girls in Canada are bombarded with sexist media messages that tell them how to look, think, and feel. Research shows constant exposure to these stereotypes actually affect girls’ mental health, leading to sharp declines in confidence and higher rates of depression.

In response, the Canadian Women’s Foundation and Havas Canada have partnered to create #GirlPowered, a new initiative launching today to mark International Day of the Girl. The campaign empowers girls to create and share positive messages with the world that build confidence and self-esteem.

Havas organized a live interactive event at Dundas Square in Toronto, where girls were asked what message they would give to every girl. As each girl gave her answer, a real-time billboard message would appear, revealing her empowering words. Seeing their words of encouragement and positivity amplified to the world, provided participating girls with a sense of purpose and recognition that their voice was heard and mattered.

“With this campaign, we set out to replace the endless negative advertising messages directed at girls with words of positivity,” said Helen Pak, CEO and CCO of Havas Canada. “With #GirlPowered, instead of seeing a corporate brand, you’ll see a girl’s name and her age. We were really excited to create this campaign because there is nothing more powerful than messages created by girls for girls.”

To give girls across Canada this same sense of empowerment, was created – a site where girls can create their own custom billboard. All Canadians, parents and educators are invited to get involved by encouraging girls to create their #GirlPowered message. Each of these positive messages will be hosted in the gallery and can be shared across social networks. In early 2017, a specially created “Girl Council” will then select a series of messages to appear in a nationwide media campaign.

“At the Canadian Women’s Foundation, we want every girl to believe in herself and realize she matters. With #GirlPowered we have the chance to balance out the negative advertising messages in the world with positive messages of encouragement and empowerment,” said Sarah Ruddle, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

“What makes #GirlPowered special is the fact that Havas proactively approached us with the idea knowing that they could make a difference in the lives of girls across Canada with this unique campaign. It was critical for all of us that the campaign be unfiltered and that girls’ voices be front and centre, which is truly at the heart of #GirlPowered.”

To view the #GirlPowered campaign and create your custom billboard, visit

About the Canadian Women’s Foundation

The Canadian Women’s Foundation is Canada’s public foundation for women and girls. We empower women and girls in Canada to move out of violence, out of poverty, and into confidence and leadership. Since 1991, we’ve raised money and invested in over 1,400 community programs across Canada, and are now one of the ten largest women’s foundations in the world. We take a positive approach to address root causes of the most critical issues facing women and girls. We study and share the best ways to create long-term change and bring community organizations together for training and to learn from each other. We carefully select and fund the programs with the strongest outcomes and regularly evaluate their work. We have a special focus on building a community of women helping other women. Helping women creates safer families and communities, and a more prosperous society for all of us. We invest in the strength of women and the dreams of girls. For more information, please visit

To learn more about #GirlPowered, visit

About Havas

Havas is one of the world’s largest global communications groups. Founded in 1835 in Paris, the Group now employs 18,000 people in over 100 countries. Havas is committed to being the world’s best company at creating meaningful connections between people and brands through creativity, media and innovation. Havas is also the most integrated Group in its sector, with most of its creative and media teams sharing the same premises, the Havas Villages, designed to increase synergies and creativity for all its clients and agencies.

In Canada, Havas has more than 150 employees in its Montreal and Toronto offices, working on brands such as PayPal, Couche-Tard, New Balance, BrandSource Canada, Fromageries Bel, Fidelity, Sun Life, RBC and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.


For more information or potential interview opportunities:

Stacey Rodas 416-365-1444 x240
1-866-293-4483 x240

Helen Pak, CEO & Chief Creative Officer 416-480-6677
Availability: Tuesday & Thursday

Cory Eisentraut, VP Creative Director 416-305-1375
Availability: Wednesday & Friday

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The Facts

30 years

$130+ million raised

2,500 programs

Every province and territory covered

Learn how we’re empowering women and girls to move out of violence, out of poverty, and into confidence and leadership

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