February 13, 2009 posted by Linda Basch Last week we reached out to advocates and scholars working on issues affecting girls’ lives to submit their Girls Agenda 2009: More funding for teen dating violence prevention? More attention paid to the international trafficking of girls? New programs to promote the health, safety, and well-being of future women? Effective, comprehensive sex education in our schools? The responses we received were dynamic, fresh, and exciting. Deborah Tolman, Professor of Social Welfare, Hunter College School of Social Work, suggested that in order to enhance girls’ resiliency, we must do more than reduce risk—we must provide encouragement so that they may live their lives in the positive. Lyn Mikel Brown, author of Girlfighting, offered an insightful critique of the “mean girl” phenomenon and recommended a strength-based approach: “We affirm girls’ relational and political strengths by giving them reason to believe they can count on one another and work together to solve social problems.” Allison Kimmich, Executive Director of the National Women’s Study Association, drew on Obama’s role as both father and policymaker, nudging him to make policy decisions in the same manner he parents.
February 11, 2009 posted by admin According to a recent report by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the United States ranks 69th in the world in female representation in our national legislature (just below Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, which tied for 68th). And the situation isn’t improving quickly; it’s been estimated that if we continue adding women in Congress at the current rate, we will reach parity in about 500 years. Women are grossly underrepresented not only in politics but in business; while we make up 51.3% of the population, but we account for only 15.7% of Fortune 500 corporate officers and 2% of Fortune 500 CEOs. This is not only a flagrant waste of brainpower, it’s dangerous; a number of people have made the observation that a higher proportion of women on Wall Street might well have prevented the economic meltdown we’re all suffering from. In other words, we have a leadership problem in this country,
I was recently in Calcutta, India, my place of birth, home to where my mother, a sibling, old friends, and sweet memories still reside. This is my other “home” where I try to get to every year to renew and regenerate myself, and recharge from the stresses of a running a two working parents’ nuclear household in frenetic New York City. My trip last month came after a two year gap; I felt the familiar overwhelming desire to be there, to be a part of the sights and sounds of an India that were at once familiar and yet distant to me. Having left almost 23 years ago to move to the US, I have a unique insider-outsider vantage point. I was born and brought up there; I know things instinctively – all the cultural puzzles, contradictions, nuances of language, wordplay and verbal cues, body language, subtle things - that only a native-born can ever know. But, having been away long enough, and trained in and working in a field where critical inquiry is required, I can no longer accept without questioning the status and daily conditions of millions of people living in absolute poverty, what Collier refers to as The Bottom Billion. Even as India’s economy grows steadily at about 8% a year, there are entire communities of people, some 300 million of them, who live under a $1 a day without regular access to food, water, housing, livelihoods, reproductive healthcare or education. Malnutrition in children under five is at a staggering 45%.
February 10, 2009 posted by admin My first memory in life is of my mom holding me up as a human shield to try get my dad to stop beating her—possibly to stop from killing her. I was 2-years-old at the time. My book for young women, RESPECT: A GIRL'S GUIDE TO GETTING RESPECT AND DEALING WHEN YOUR LINE IS CROSSED (Free Spirit Publishing, 2005), was born out of a life riddled with disrespect. Like many girls and women I’ve met, I grew up in this home where domestic violence, addictions, incarceration, near poverty and "-isms" from racism to sexism were diminishing my family. But I was one of the lucky ones who discovered the many keys to breaking this cycle. Through following my passions, discovering my mission in life and getting help--among other Steps to Respect--I learned that respect is always within reach because true respect starts on the inside. Now as I travel the country coaching girls and women, I hear a lot of stories just like mine. And as part of this work, I share with them an amazing video made by Jennifer Uribe, our 19-year-old program assistant at Respect Rx (a venture I founded last year). Jen's video includes powerful stats that some girls have heard and some haven't, like:
February 6, 2009 posted by admin Dear Barack and Michelle, I’m writing to you as the parents of beautiful girls, and as people who hold the future of this country in your hands for the next four years. I know that you both take seriously your job as parents as well as the way you can shape public policy to improve your daughters’ lives. Michelle has talked about supporting working parents and Barack has talked about fighting workplace discrimination so Sasha and Malia will not have to experience it as adults. George W.
February 5, 2009 posted by admin As someone who studies girl culture and as a mother of a 13 year old, I can't miss the avalanche of "mean girls" in the media and what it suggests to my daughter; to all our daughters. Can we imagine a girl-targeted reality show, sitcom, or drama that doesn't revolve around a catfight? Do we really need more movies like Bride Wars or another Jennifer-Angelina magazine cover with an inset of Brad in the corner? It seems like the only public displays of sisterhood we see any more involve girls collectively dissing other "bad" girls or commiserating over break ups with guys. As an education professor, I spend a lot of time in public schools.
February 5, 2009 posted by adminHow often is a girl’s Dad hidden in plain sight? Seeing fathers is an innovative step to increase and sustain girls’ self-esteem and self-efficacy considering the numerous obstacles they face. Seeing Dad is also a step that’s readily available, if not always easy to take. The power and potential of father-daughter relationships remain fairly invisible among advocates for girls and professionals working with girls and their families. But a moment’s reflection reveals how important Dad and/or Stepdad is in Daughter’s life. Nearly every adult woman can identify ways her father (and/or stepfather) influenced her. Ask any group of adult women about their relationships with their fathers, and you rarely get a lukewarm answer. You’ll hear something along the lines of either “He’s one of my heroes” or “He’s an [expletive deleted].” Dads have unique influence in the lives of their daughters and stepdaughters. A father’s actions (and inactions) set the standard of “man” for his daughter—what she can expect as normal from boys now and men later. Dad also profoundly affects his daughter’s concept of “partner.” His behavior in relationship with his daughter’s other parent(s) sets her standard for what’s normal and acceptable from her own eventual life partner(s), regardless of gender.
February 5, 2009 posted by admin [caption id="attachment_1063" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="New Moon Girl"][/caption] The following 5 posts are from members of the Girls Editorial Board ofNew Moon Girls. They all live in Minnesota. Dear President Obama, You are now the president of the United States of America, what I had been wanting to happen since the beginning of the election. I am a supporter of women's rights and equal treatment of women. In this year 2009 there are many things that I would like to see change. Incidents of injustice must stop in the United States, and fairness should be strived for everywhere. In all places people of all races and genders should work together, equal pay and things such as fair promotions should be fought for but unfortunately this does not always happen. I strive to change that. Here are some facts about injustice to women that need to change:
February 5, 2009 posted by admin Dear President Obama, Congratulations to becoming the president of the United States. You did very well in your speeches and I was sure all along that you would become the first black president of the United States. What I'd like to see change for girls in 2009 : -- I would like to see no discrimination or unfair treatment for women (especially at work). --I would also like to see more opportunities for women and girls in sports. --I would also like to have racism completely gone. Girls and women should not be judged by their race but by their personality. Nkem, age 10 This post is part of a forum
February 5, 2009 posted by admin Dear Mr. Obama, I realize that you have two daughters and you love them very much! I work on a magazine called New Moon Girls. I am on the GEB or the Girls Editorial Board.