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Celebrating 20 Years of GirlVentures!

by GirlVentures and their alumnae

Currently celebrating our 20th anniversary year, GirlVentures’ programs empower girls to develop and express their strengths through transformative outdoor adventure and leadership programs. Participants become healthy, confident leaders, allies with one another, and environmental stewards.

Through Girlz Climb On, our 9-week mentored after school program, girls are paired with women volunteers and learn to rock climb, while participating in activities around trust, identity, social justice and leadership.

Check out what our alumnae have to say (below) about their time with GirlVentures!




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Sexism, the Olympics, and What it REALLY Means to Admire a Woman's Body

by Naomi Katz, founder and director of the Beautiful Project. Originally posted on The Beautiful Project on August 18, 2016

At this moment in time, there are no teen girl heroes greater than the members of the US women's gymnastics team. They are absolutely DOMINATING the Olympics but yet somehow commentators are saying that they look like they “might as well be standing in the middle of a mall.” Seriously?

These Olympics have seen ample coverage that looks critically at the language used to talk about women athletes. People are outraged that Katie Ledecky is the “female Michael Phelps,” Corey Codgell is the “wife of a Bears' lineman,” Katinka Hozzsu's husband is “the man responsible” for her success. In “She's old, for a woman” (LA Times, August 11, 2016), Julie Makinen takes a very sharp look at these comments including when a “presenter asked Angolan handball star ‎Teresa "Ba" Almeida ...whether she preferred to get thinner or have a medal.” I mean, really.

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#ShareHerStory: How I Worship My Body and Accept My Disability

by Gigi Giscome. A version of the article was published on Blavity and Wear Your Voice

Is this what it feels like to feel absolutely beautiful? I look at my reflection in the mirror, studying every nook and cranny of my face, blushing slightly while everyone and everything in the room completely disappears. I see the mixture of love, sacrifices and ancestry it took to make me, Me. In that moment, I didn’t want to be anybody in the world but me. I felt nothing but self-love and gratitude.

Photo: Courtesy of author

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Turning to Self-Love in Times of Tragedy

by Jessica Diaz France, originally posted on The Body Positive on July 9, 2016

It seems that every day the world feels the reverberation of another tragedy. Gun violence, race relations, war, changes in the economy, poverty, inequality, gender gap…the list changes daily and also stays the same. The world is hurting. From whatever vantage point you have on whichever continent—if you look for the negative, you will inevitably find it.  

I asked myself after the third shooting in a week that was blasted on every social media platform, and on every news source: In a world that is hurting, is there a place for self-love?

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"Dream Big" Posters from Athena Camps

by the middle school campers at Athena Camps in San Jose

Athena Camps inspires courage and builds confidence in girls through a unique combination of athletic, creative, emotional, and social activities in a nurturing community. They help girls aged five through thirteen develop their whole selves.

In their middle school camps, one of the themes they covered was "Dream Big," where the girls read Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech and created posters about their own dreams. The following are a few of their inspiring creations (click on them to expand in a new window):

 
   
 

The Red Women Rising Campaign

by the California Consortium for Urban Indian Health (CCUIH). Originally published on CCUIH's website here.


The California Consortium for Urban Indian Health's Red Women Rising project supports culturally responsive domestic violence services for Urban Indians by increasing public awareness and enhancing collaborations between Urban Indian health organizations, domestic violence service providers and traditional healers. Earlier this year, CCUIH created a webpage that houses all of the Red Women Rising media so advocates can participate in their public awareness campaign and start important conversations about recognizing abuse, stopping violence, and healing as a community.

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Poem from New York

by Gabriella (Gabby) Valukh, Alto I singer and student at the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Originally published on the Girls Chorus' website here.

Hello from New York!

We have worked so hard to prepare for this tour that it is hard to believe we are finally here. On the flight to New York, while many slept, read, listened to music or occupied themselves to pass the time, I wrote a poem which I would like to share with you.

My Journey to New York

The low rumble of the engine surrounds me,
A constant radio—like static in the background,
As we gradually ascend into the air and fly through the sky.







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Vague feedback of “Lacks Executive Presence” is blocking senior women’s advancement

by Lori Nishiura Mackenzie, Executive Director of the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University. A version of this article was first published in the Huffington Post here.


Two years ago, when Sheryl Sandberg launched the campaign to “Ban Bossy” for young girls, women also cheered. Many women have been called bossy, or the adult version of the word, at some time. While some women receive direct feedback to act differently, more often, they are just told they lack the executive presence or influence to advance to the C-suite. In many instances, that criticism reflects stereotypes about who makes good leaders. While a long-term solution is to block the reliance on stereotypes when speaking about and evaluating senior women, we need immediate action. My solution? A new campaign to advance women leaders: Ban “Executive Presence.”

“Executive Presence” is often defined as commanding a room, having gravitas or communicating decisively. This critical leadership characteristic is rarely based on demonstrated behaviors, but instead on whether others perceive you as having it.


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IGNITE is ready for #StateofWomen: An Interview with Dr. Anne Moses

by Anne Moses, Founder and Executive Director of IGNITE. Originally published on IGNITE's blog here.


There’s a lot that’s been done by and for women and girls, but there’s still plenty to do. That's why our President & Founder, Dr. Anne Moses, is off to the White House for The United State of Women Summit. The #‎StateofWomen Summit will rally all of us together to celebrate what we’ve achieved, and how we’re going to take action moving forward. Covering key gender equality issues - including women in politics - we’ll make a powerful difference in our collective future. In this interview with Dr. Moses she shares her thoughts on why now is the time for women and girls to declare their ambition to run for office.

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Why is now the time for women to claim their political power?

For the first time in history, a woman is the Presidential nominee for a major political party. This is an extraordinary accomplishment, but we have to capitalize on it! Women still hold only 22% of the 500,000 elective offices across the US. That means we still need 140,000 more women in office at every level to achieve gender parity. And research suggests it will be more than 100 years before that happens.





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Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

Post by Smruti Aravind, former Video Editor of Career Girls. Originally published in Career Girls' blog here.


It’s National Women’s Health Week, and a perfect opportunity to remind ourselves that our physical and mental health should be a priority, despite all our other responsibilities. It’s pretty straightforward to remember to schedule a checkup with your gynecologist, but navigating the maze of mental health can be more daunting.

The Alliance for Girls’ 4th Annual Conference featured a workshop that discussed tools you can use to make it easier. Social and Emotional Learning, or SEL, is an important component of academic and life success. SEL Tools can be put into practice beginning in grade school to help both girls and boys thrive, and are useful at any age.

You can practice the 5 core competencies of SEL by yourself, or in a small group:



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Halliana, An Oasis Shero!

Interview with Halliana, a junior at Burton High School who just completed Oasis for Girls' ENVISION Career Exploration Program this Spring. She lives with her mom and two siblings in San Francisco's Excelsior neighborhood. She was interviewed by Oasis for Girls' Executive Director, Jessica Van Tuyl.


Jessica: Why did you decide to join Oasis?

Halliana: I kept staying after school to avoid going home, but I didn't want to participate in anything because I was afraid it wouldn't impact me. One of my friends was applying to Oasis, so I joined with her. At Oasis, I met other young women, we talked about our lives, and I realized I could actually trust people!

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United State of Girls Summit & Rally

by Sandra Luna, Head of School of Julia Morgan School for Girls


Inspired by the United State of Women Summit taking place at the White House in June, Girls in Government, Leadership, and Service (GGLS), a before-school class at Julia Morgan School for Girls (JMSG), is hosting a United State of Girls Rally & Summit on Saturday, May 14, from 9:30 - 1:00.

We hope to have 100 middle and high school girls from public and private schools attend this special event. Our goal is to mobilize a national movement of teens 18 years and younger to finally pass the Equal Rights Amendment and the girls attending will be those girls who are willing to take on a leadership position in getting the ERA passed. We plan to create a short video by the end of the event that we can send to the White House!

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Professional Black Women are Dying for Inclusion

by Precious J. Stroud, founder of BlackFemaleProject and lead consultant for PJS Consultants. A version of this article appeared in the March/April 2016 edition of Daisy Magazine.


Has your boss ever said:

“You oversold yourself during the interview.”
“You are not meeting expectations.”
“You don’t know your place.”
“You go by that name at work?”
Or my favorite, “You seem angry.”

If not, imagine hearing statements like these over and over again from the person to whom you report.








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Oakland Unified and Alliance for Girls Team Up to Disrupt the School to Prison Pipeline

by Rebecca Peterson-Fisher, Senior Staff Attorney at Equal Rights Advocates (ERA). Originally published in ERA's blog here.


Across the country, students of color — and black girls in particular — are suspended at much higher rates than white students. Suspension has the power to not only damage a student’s future academic success, but, if repeated, can pose the risk of pushing a student out of school and into the criminal justice system.

The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and Alliance for Girls, a Bay Area organization that counts over 100 Bay Area girl-serving organizations as its members, have entered into an exciting new partnership designed to reduce suspension rates for girls of color and lift up their academic achievement.


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Why Do We Teach Girls That It's Cute to Be Scared?

by Caroline Paul, Writer and Author of The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure. Originally published in The New York Times here.


I was one of the first women in the San Francisco Fire Department. For more than a dozen years, I worked on a busy rig in a tough neighborhood where rundown houses caught fire easily and gangs fought with machetes and .22s. I’ve pulled a bloated body from the bay, performed CPR on a baby and crawled down countless smoky hallways.

I expected people to question whether I had the physical ability to do the job (even though I was a 5-foot-10, 150-pound ex-college athlete). What I didn’t expect was the question I heard more than any other: “Aren’t you scared?”

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Looking Ahead

by Nakia Dillard, Founder and Director of Y-LEAP


I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to not only attend Alliance for Girl’s 3rd Annual Conference but to have had the amazing opportunity to speak on stage. This experience was so empowering for me as it was my first time speaking to a large crowd about Y-LEAP and the importance of investing in girls and young women. After I spoke I was surprised to get a standing ovation and to see so many people approach me afterwards. Not only did people come up to me to speak about future collaborations or to share their thoughts on my speech, people also followed up within a few weeks of the conference through Facebook, LinkedIn, and email.

Some of the manifestations that came forth after the conference included:

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Menstruation in the 4th wave: How my period helped me find my (feminist) voice

by Emma Sachat, sophomore at Wheaton College and intern at the Red Web Foundation

In most cultures, a girl’s first period is emblematic of womanhood. Her first period not only indicates that she is fertile, but welcomes her into the world of women rather than girls. For me, my first period was not so sacred. I began to realize I was a woman not because I was met with admiration and respect, but because my body and my ability to menstruate were regarded as vulgar and obscene. My period marked my coming to womanhood in that I learned how I was meant to feel about being a menstruating woman. And it was because I was so angered by the old-world attitudes towards my period that I began to grow into my feminist-self and develop my feminist thought. My period marked the beginning of a new awareness of unjust attitudes and language regarding women.

Despite being slightly embarrassed when I came home to the raspberry-topped cupcakes my mother had made to commemorate my coming into “womanhood”, my period was not initially a source of shame. I did not share the horrific first-period story as do so many women--bleeding through white pants onto a classroom chair, staining a bathing suit. Rather, my first period was uneventful, almost, it seemed, of no consequence at all. I did not regard my period as a great source of shame, nor did I see any reason to. I did not question my own body and my right to menstruate and talk about menstruation openly until I found myself in the presence of boys at my coed high school.

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Q&A with Vanessa Miller

Interview with Vanessa Miller, a 7th grader participating in Girls Leading Girls and its girls' competitive soccer club, SF Sol. She recently placed first at the December 5K hosted by Girls On The Run Bay Area.

How long have you been with Girls Leading Girls?

"I have been with girls leading girls for about 1/2 a year."

What do you get to do there? What do you like most about it?

"SF Sol is a soccer team that has leadership classes as well. I get to play and develop my soccer skills and this summer we're going to go to Nicaragua on a service trip. I like my coaches, and everyone on the team is really nice."







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We're starting something big at YWCA!

by Laura Eberly, Community Organizer at the YWCA San Francisco & Marin


YWCA San Francisco & Marin got its start by elevating women’s voices. At the core of our work is the recognition that a more equitable world is possible, and it is our job to build it.

That’s why we are building a new advocacy program, and inviting you to join us.




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STOP

by Robin Weathers, Jenna Cheli, Jessie Marshall, and Soli Tays, students of Cloverdale High School who won Best High School Film at the Alexander Valley Film Society for their film, STOP


Insecurities are something that everyone faces no matter the age, race, or gender. This unifying theme connects us all together throughout generations and will continue to connect us. Then why do we target these insecurities within other people? Why are they one of the most frequently used topics to hurt others with? People throw words at each other that target these insecurities whether they know it or not. Friends even make comments to them as jokes. These jokes are sometimes the ones that hurt the most.


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