Smashing the patriarchy: leading and learning from girl activists

It is so often in this world that decisions are made about girls without their input, from who they marry to whether they receive an education, to what does and doesn’t happen to their bodies. Last month With and For Girls brought together 12 activists from Kenya, Guatemala, Palestine, Nicaragua, Poland, Barbados, Israel, Romania, USA and Nepal to put on a closing plenary at the Human Rights Funders Network conference in Mexico City.
Girls all around the world are leading human rights movements toward a safer and more equal world. They work tirelessly and are under-recognised, under-estimated and underfunded.

Watch a video of this convening here

Girls to the Front: A snapshot of girl-led organizing

It’s tough being a girl. All over the world, girls face multiple layers of discrimination: for being female, for being young and for the other multiple identities that define them, such as race, class, sexual orientation and gender identity. In the face of these challenges, girls worldwide are organising and joining forces to have their agency and autonomy recognised, respected and celebrated. Who better to know what girls need than girls themselves?

Girls and their organisations and/or initiatives are important to social movements. Mama Cash and FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund, two women’s funds long committed to supporting girls and their organising, decided to commission a research study to find out more about how girls are organising across the world. This participatory, feminist, intersectional research placed girls at the centre, making them partners of the study. The participation of Girl Advisors— activists who hail from five different countries and have diverse backgrounds, profiles and
skills– brought invaluable input to the table.

The research used in-depth interviews and an online questionnaire, as well as an exhaustive desk review to collect data from girl-led groups and organisations, girl-centred organisations and the stakeholders that support them at different levels. This is an exciting opportunity to spotlight how girl-led organising takes place and how funders can provide flexible support that responds to the needs of girls and their organising.

Read more of the Girls to the Front report here

A New Study on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Highlights Challenges

An alarming number of Indigenous women and girls disappear or are murdered each year. The absence of consistent, standardized reporting on the issue has prevented researchers from gaining a true understanding of the problem. However, a new report released by the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI), a tribal epidemiology center, aims to shed light on the cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG).

Entitled “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls,” the report identified 506 cases across 71 cities. The cities included in the report were selected based on whether there was a significant population of urban American Indians, a large number of MMIWG cases, or an urban American Indian health center affiliated with UIHI.

Read more at Nonprofit Quarterly 

In Solidarity We Rise: Call for Proposals

National Crittenton invites proposals for a national gathering focused on healing, opportunity, and justice for girls and gender nonconforming young people.

The event will bring together young leaders, advocates, social service professionals, community-based organizations, and policymakers to strategize, share solutions, imagine new futures, and make connections between our spaces, issues, and approaches.

We invite proposals for one-hour Innovation in Motion sessions. Sessions can be interactive workshops, presentations, performances, film, panels, or other creative formats. Sessions led or co-led by girls, young women, or gender nonconforming youth will receive priority.

Innovation in Motion sessions are dynamic, interactive sessions that share exciting, creative models and ideas for programming, community organizing, communication, and policy reform from folks’ on-the-ground work in communities. Sessions can range from sharing successful campaign efforts to workshopping a new initiative or idea.

We invite proposals on many subjects and issue areas that reflect meaningful diversity with attention to race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexuality, disability, region, culture, and class.

At In Solidarity 2017, Innovation in Motion session presenters:

  • Shared how a regional alliance of girls’ organizations partnered with a school district to advance policy reforms identified by students;
  • Discussed how they created a digital campaign to support and engage with young moms;
  • Released a toolkit for administering community-based services to at-risk and systems-involved Latina youth;
  • Used Theatre of the Oppressed in an interactive workshop designed to build sisterhood and common ground;
    And led more than a dozen other presentations and workshops

All proposals must be received by 5:00 pm PST on December 1, 2018. Proposals will be evaluated by a committee of individuals representing National Crittenton and Crittenton agencies across the country.

If accepted to participate, up to two individuals ages 25 and younger will receive free registration and up to two individuals ages 26 and older will recieve a 50% discount on registration. All participants must provide their own travel and lodging.

Important Dates
Proposal due: December 1, 2018
Acceptance notification: December 20, 2018
Conference date: May 9-11, 2019

Learn more and submit a proposal here. 

Register for the conference here

Study of missing and murdered Indigenous women highlights police data failures

A landmark report from the Seattle Indian Health Board’s Urban Indian Health Institute paints a critical picture of law enforcement, data collection and media coverage of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) in the United States. There is no authoritative accounting of MMIWG in the U.S., but it is estimated that in Canada, up to 4,000 women have gone missing or been murdered over the last several decades.

The study, issued Wednesday, Nov. 14, documents 506 unique cases in 71 cities across the country, most notably in the West. The report shifts focus from rural reservations and tribal communities, which have been hit hard by the crisis, to urban areas. Today, 71 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives live in towns and cities, yet little to no research has been done on violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women in urban areas.

Read more at High Country News

So, Here’s the Thing About Young Black Girls Who Only Play With White Dolls

Research confirms that brown skin girls that only play with white dolls often grow up thinking that being “white” is beautiful, and that being “black” or “brown” is ugly!

And it’s the same for young girls that only play with dolls with straight hair… They often grow up believing that “straight” hair is beautiful, but “kinky” or “natural” hair is not attractive!

But there is an easy way to save young Black girls from this epidemic! Black parents can start buying their children dolls that make them proud of who they are… dolls with a beautiful brown skin tone, and kinky or natural hair — dolls that look like them!

Read more at The Dallas Weekly.

Minnesota’s Young Muslim Girls Can Finally See Themselves in Congress

It was in Mrs. Gray’s fourth grade class that I was asked for the very first time, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Some of my fellow classmates would say astronaut, teacher, and maybe one of the boys would yell out “president!” But no girl ever dared to say president. I saw no one who looked like me holding high levels of office. The principals of my elementary and middle schools were both white men. Every president I learned about was a white man. A seed was planted in my subconscious: These weren’t jobs, careers or titles a woman could dream of, let alone a little brown girl. How can I be what I cannot see?

But since then, I have seen evidence of my own right to be a leader in my Minnesota community. And one of those moments was last night, watching Ilhan Omar take the stage as our newest congressional official and one of the first two Muslim women elected to the U.S. Congress.

Read more at MinnPost. 

Young Women’s Initiative’s Blueprint for Action: Supporting Young Women of Color in the District of Columbi

The Blueprint represents the collective voice of more than 250 young women, policymakers, philanthropists, scholars, service providers, and government officials. It provides guidance for policymakers, government entities, community based organizations, school districts, and funders on how to address challenges identified by young women of color living in the District of Columbia.

Link to Blueprint

‘Queen talk’: Pittsburgh Black Women and Girls Describe How They Navigate the World

They are forced into either conforming or they are pushed out of the settings they happen to be in.”

“Sometimes it’s a struggle when people just don’t understand my culture.”

“There’s not a certain archetype of what a black girl is like. A black girl can be, like, so many things.”

For two days in September, PublicSource attended the 2018 Gwen’s Girls Black Girl Equity Summit. Black girls in middle schools and high schools from around the Pittsburgh region met to create guiding principles that will help prevent or even abolish discrimination and oppression of black girls in Allegheny County.

Read more at Public Source

Listen to Black girls. They Know What They Need Best.

I knew the purpose of the 3rd Annual Equity Summit, hosted by Gwen’s Girls and the Black Girls Equity Alliance, was a worthy one. It was most certainly an event I wanted to observe as a Masters of Social Work student at the University of Pittsburgh. What I didn’t foresee was how much hearing from the Black girls themselves would affect me and teach me.

I have been eager to focus my social work practice and research on the inequities that Black girls face. Thus, attending the summit was the perfect way for me to learn from community members, researchers, organizations, practitioners and service providers who were actively doing the work that I hope to be doing in the future.

Fifty young Black women were present, all from different high schools in the area. They were given the space and time to share their experiences in group sessions and workshops, where they had a chance to develop a Black Girls’ Equity Agenda on the different issues they face in their schools, homes and communities.

Read more at Public Source.