Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ending Violence Against Girls Across the World

"The Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination and Violence Against the Girl Child" is the priority theme of the United Nation's Commission on the Status of Women, which started on February 26th and ends March 9th. http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/51sess.htm

I'm thrilled to see "the girl-child" become the center of attention of a major international gathering, but I can't help from wondering why girls don't garner quite the same attention in the US. My experience seeking funding for girls' conferences (and girls' programming in general) in New York has left me discouraged about the priority of girls domestically. I've been face to face with prospective funders who want to know why we still need to fund girls' programs, because they seem to think that girls have "caught up" and are "doing okay now."

Back to the good news
At least 200 girls are in New York from across the world to talk about their experiences as girls.
Girls will present at both official UN CSW events, as well at several of the "Parallel Events" held in conjunction with non-profit organizations. I'm going to try to make it to a few of the events, including March 2nd's "Girls Speak Out."

Want more up to date blogging on the CSW? Check out openDemocracy's ongoing blog

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Global Leadership for Girls

Girls Scouts of the USA and Americans for Informed Democracy teamed up for a video conference for girls entitled “Women and Global Leadership” today to celebrate the beginning of the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women and Girl Scout’s World Thinking Day. Girls in five cities heard presentations from the following five high profile women leaders and posed questions through a Q and A:

- Jacqueline Novogratz, Chief Executive Officer, Acumen Fund
- Carole Artigiani, Founder and Executive Director, Global Kids
- Kim Hamilton, President Emeritus, NetAid
- Raghida Dergham, Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, Al Hayat
- Minna Mattero, Children and Youth Unit, World Bank

After a lengthy introduction (which was fascinating for me, but you could see some serious fidgeting on the girls’ parts on the video), the girls, who looked to range in age from about 10 – 18, in San Francisco, Chicago, Washington DC, New York, the UK, each had a chance to pose a question to the panel. Here’s what they wanted to know:

San Francisco: What is it like to have a woman president?
(This was for Minna, who hails from Finland, where their female president was just reelected.)
Chicago: How did you get interested in your fields of work?
Washington D.C.: As a mother, what qualities do you bring to your leadership positions/What did you learn from your own mother?
UK: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of being a leader?
New York: What small steps can a high school student take to make a difference, while still getting all my homework done?

All the panelists get major points for not watering down their messages or sugar coating life leading an organization or in Raghida’s case covering world events. They described both what’s lonely and difficult about having to make hard or unpopular decisions, and they also talked about the thrill of seeing the effects of your projects in the world. Better yet, each was positive about the contributions girls and young women can make now while they are young and cited what they learn from young people. I was impressed that they had so much to offer and were clear and demonstrative about their respect for young people and their contributions. Too often, young people are told that they are the “leaders of the future” but here the message was clear—girls are leaders today.

My favorite illustration of this came from Raghida who talked about getting her first short stories and poems published as a 15 year old growing up in Beirut, when as a girl she wasn’t allowed to walk around her neighborhood without a family escort. Later as an adult becoming a foreign correspondent, she called around to get work—new employers remembered her work as a teenager and it helped her land new gigs!

And Minna shared with the girls that they are leaders, of their own lives. In so many parts of the world, girls and women’s lives are determined by men or political circumstances. They are told when and if they can go to school, to work, or to the bathroom. In the states, most girls do have choices.

Congrats to the Girl Scouts and AID for giving girls access to such important women leaders.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Award winning Girls for Gender Equity is hiring

Urban Leaders Program Coordinator

The full-time Program Coordinator (PC) will be on-site at MS 61 in Brooklyn to implement Girls for Gender Equity's Urban Leader after school program that runs from 3pm-6pm, Monday-Friday. The PC's responsibilities will include but not be limited to:

implementation of program; student outreach; registration duties; form processing; mailings; relationship-building; communication with parents and guardians; confirming student attendance, distributing snacks; supervising our high school mentors, volunteers and employees of the program; escortingstudents to and from classrooms and various administrative tasks.

The PC will supervise program staff and participants and act as a liaisonfor the students, parents and staff. The PC will lead staff meetings,schedule staff development trainings, address crisis issues, authorizecommunity linkages and generate quarterly reports.

Please understand that the PC will be leading the implementation of our first government funded after school program. Although this is a greatopportunity to implement new and unique educational, pregnancy prevention,violence prevention, as well as health and fitness programs to youth ages 11-14, the initial start up will be a challenge and require someone that has:

•A Bachelor's or Master's degree in a related field.

•Employment history in the field of social service, program management,and/or NYC public schools.

•Excellent program planning, organizing, oral communication and writing skills (especially for relating to parents and teachers).

•Ability to collaborate well with other agencies and follow up with calls,computer tracking and reporting.

•Creative approach to implementing and monitoring programming.

•A clear understanding of gender equity work and understanding of feminist theory a plus.

•Strong organizational and delegation skills for assisting staff and interns.

Salary: High 30's Low 40's to be determined by experience, full healthbenefits – If selected for the position GGE will require, in writing, aseven-month commitment to position!

Reports to: Director of Community Organizing Founder/Executive Director

Position available immediately, email resume and cover letter to:jsmith@ggenyc.org or Fax to 718-857-2239