Y-WE Career Day: A Social Media Journey

I was lucky enough to spend my Saturday getting inspired by the wonderful women and girls at Y-WE’s Career Day. For those who weren’t lucky enough to attend (or those who’d like to relive it) I’ve created a social media recap of the day. Enjoy!

 

 

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Girl Justice Roundup

My take on the news from the Girl Justice movement (locally, nationally, and internationally). 

Local

The Trayvon Martin Foundation selected You Grow Girl as one of their local partners to expand education opportunities for inner-city youth. They’ll kick off their partnership on May 19 at the Justice and Peace Mixer in Columbia City. Congrats to You Grow Girl, and THANKS for all the hard work on behalf of girls!

Season 3 of the PBS series SciGirls dropped on April 15. The series features real girls doing real cool science. To learn how to use SciGirls in your STEM program, check out the Pacific Northwest Girls’ Collaborative Project’s Professional Development Day on April 25.

Awesome piece at the Gates Foundations Blog by Melaya Medrano, a Chief Sealth High School student, debunking the myths about youth volunteering and recounting her journey to volunteerism.

Read up on how Girls on the Run of Puget Sound helps girls develop healthy habits. Then sign up to be a running buddy! It’s one of the most impactful, easiest, and rewarding short-term volunteer opportunities around!

WA Senator Patty Murray chats with female scientists at Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center about “boosting women in STEM.” That’s a pretty powerful combination!

National

Kent State developed a new app to help African American girls, manage stress. The Program for Research on Anxiety Disorders among African-Americans created the app in response to research with African American women, who reported wishing they’d learned emotional management skills earlier in their lives.

Jon Greenberg at Everyday Feminism analyzes what public schools can do, and often fail to do, to combat institutional racism.

Loved this Planet Money episode about how Maddie Messer, age 12, researched the lack of female video game characters, made a case for why that’s whack, and convinced game companies to change their ways. You rock Maddie!

Teen Feminist shares a list of her favorite companies owned by women and girls, who produce products for women and girls.

To kick off financial literacy month, the Girl Scouts released “5 Money-Saving Tips for Teens.” The tips apply equally well to adults!

International

Looking for an opportunity to analyze the “invest in girls” rhetoric? Here are two great ones!

TED put together a “playlist” of talks about the importance of educating girls.

The Directors of RISING at the Population Council write about how investing in girls can change the world.

Tough Questions about “Investing” in Girls

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been grappling with some tough questions. I believe to my core that girls need and deserve more resources to overcome the challenges they face. It would be easy to say that investing in girls is a win for everyone, and sweep my concerns under the rug. Easy, but ultimately counter-productive.

Dr. Kathryn Moeller, a professor of Education Studies at the University of Wisconsin Madison, has written eloquently and critically about the push to “invest in girls.” Her articles challenge the push for girls’ empowerment and education, forcing readers to consider how we approach girl justice more thoughtfully and humbly. While Moeller’s work focuses on girls internationally, many of her arguments apply equally well to efforts to “empower” girls from oppressed communities locally.

Read on for my takeaways, and the questions I’m still grappling with. To read Moeller’s work, see the works cited at the end of this post.

1. Focusing on investments leads to prioritizing economic outcomes, rather than supporting programs that promote girls’ rights for their own sake. Moeller writes “Girls’ education should be promoted because girls matter in and of themselves, rather than because of their potential value as instruments of development change.” (1)

How does reframing social justice as an investment opportunity change the work we do, or others’ understanding of it?

2. Collecting data and conducting analysis leads to unintended consequences. Investments should “pay off,” so girl advocates must prove that programs lead to measurable outcomes. According to Moeller, “efforts to count and track adolescent girls may seek to make the population category more visible” but they have created a new identity category “the trope of ‘Third World girl.’’

Expert researchers use data to create an image of the adolescent girl. This “statistical girl” is not real: she’s made of numbers. But she’s easier to understand than the complex, flesh and blood individuals in the real world. However, if we base our interventions on the model, we run the risk of adopting policies that address the mathematical girl’s issues, and fail to resonate with real live girls and their real live communities. (2)

What does being categorized as a “Third World Girl” mean (in both a positive and negative sense) for each individual girl? How does turning girls into statistics impact individuals girls and how we understand them? 

3. Corporations advocate for girl empowerment, while continuing business practices that hurt girls and young women.  Moeller adeptly observed that Nike began focusing on girls after they caught flack for horrific treatment of their predominately young, female, workforce. While The Girl Effect promotes individual girls as the solution, it shifts our attention away from the structural causes of poverty.

What is the role for corporations in girl justice? Can we harness their power without getting duped into promoting their PR agenda? 

Much of Dr. Moeller’s work is published in academic journals, but it’s worth a trip to a university library to read her articles in their entirety. I will be waiting with baited breath for the release of her book in 2017. Keep up the great work Dr. Moeller!

(1) “Rethinking Why We Prioritize Girls’ Education” Huffington Post, March 2015
(2) “Proving ‘’The Girl Effect’’: Corporate knowledge production and educational intervention,” International Journal of Educational Development, Volume 33, Issue 6, 2013
(3) “Searching for Adolescent Girls in Brazil: Corporate Development and the Transnational Politics of Poverty in the Girl Effect.” Feminist Studies, Issue 40.3, 2014. 

Girl Justice Roundup

My take on the news from the Girl Justice movement (locally, nationally, and internationally). 

Local

The Washington State Budget and Policy Center and Annie E Casey Foundation released an incredible new tool: The Racial Equity Policy Tool. This tool builds on tools developed by King County, the City of Seattle, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Race Forward to focus on how policies impact children and youth of color.

Lake Washington Girls’ Middle School and Google for Entrepreneurs are teaming up to host a startup weekend for girls May 15-17. They are looking for sponsors and mentors. More details on the schedule at the startup weekend page.

If you’re looking for a great job, Powerful Voices is hiring an Employment Coordinator.

Rain City Rock Camp applications are available for summer 2015! Check it out.

The Seattle Foundation created a roundup of 15 non-profits serving women and girls in King County. 8 of the 15 are girl-serving organizations!

The Women’s Funding Alliance released not one but TWO requests for proposals, one for programs that promote girls in STEM, and the other for women’s community leadership, which includes program working to equip women from underrepresented groups for leadership roles.

National

If you’re wondering why we need to fund programs that promote girls in STEM, check out this article about a study by the Institution of Engineering and Technology that reveals how outdated stereotypes prevents girls from pursuing STEM opportunities.

Great piece by Marissa Rangonese at the Spark blog about a recent intervention/study that looked at “how low-income 12-14-year-old Black girls deal with sexualization, ethnic stereotypes and violence in their communities.

Another article in the Washington Post highlighted the importance of exactly this kind of research. Khadijah Costley White, a professor of journalism at Rutgers, writes about the disproportionate school discipline and racism that black girls face, and argues that black girls need as much attention as black boys and men.

These brilliant inventors (who happen to be Girl Scout Daisies) contributed an automatic page turner to the White House science fair. It’s just a prototype, but they are on to something!

International

Ignite: Women Fueling Science and Technology (a project of the geniuses at the Global Fund for Women) created Geeks: an amazing website where “we meet girls who are on the cutting edge of science and technology — sitting in the drivers’ seats as inventors, explorers, designers, and innovators.” I just love this so much.

A study by the Government Equalities office in the UK finds that 20% of girls in primary school have been on a diet, and 87% of adolescent girls think women are evaluated more on their looks than their ability.

Stephanie Psaki of the Population Council questions the assumption that pregnancy causes girls to drop out of school, urging us to really interrogate the causes of drop outs so that we can design more effective interventions.

GirlUp released new advocacy resources, including a tool kit and guide for taking action on the Girls Count Act, and effort to ensure all girls have birth certificates.