Thursday, September 27, 2007

Are Boys Happier than Girls?

Yesterday's New York Times article He's Happier, She's Less So included a recap of studies on the difference between men and women's reported happiness from the 70's onward and includes an update of new studies. The whole article is worth the read, and I hope stirs up some good debate/analysis elsewhere, but here's a nugget that stands out for me where girls are concerned:

It’s telling that there is also a happiness gap between boys and girls in high school. As life has generally gotten better over the last generation — less crime, longer-living grandparents and much cooler gadgets — male high school seniors have gotten happier. About 25 percent say they are very satisfied with their lives, up from 16 percent in 1976. Roughly 22 percent of senior girls now give that answer, unchanged from the 1970s.

Hmmmm. One theory presented in the article is an increase in expectations for girls, in terms of grades, activities, and aspirations, while still feeling the pressure to meet unrealistic standards of beauty. The general idea is that girls were once just expected to be hot, now they are expected to be smart, ambitious, and hot at the same time.

This theory has been backed up by some research (see Girls Inc) and certainly makes sense for a certain percentage of high school girls, but doesn't go far enough. (I've been a part of many discussions about whether this applies across race and class lines) Like many topics that address the gender divide, it ignores the boys and men. Do boys and men not face the pressures and expectations around grades, activities, and how they look? Seen an Axe commerical lately? Impossible standards of masculinity are as present in our culture as femininity and it seems to follow that boys feel those pressures too.

Appearances are one thing, expectations around academics and performance are another. If boys don't feel the pressure around their futures, why is that? Is the good 'ol boys network so apparent that high school boys don't feel the need to get their act together?

My point here is that if we are seeing some kind of reversal in happiness trends between girls and boys, we should think critically about why that might be.

Thoughts? Guesses?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Feminists Abound Online and In Print

Happy Fall! Where'd summer go?

A quick update:

I (FINALLY!) bought a copy of Deb Siegel's Sisterhood Interrupted From Radical Women to Girls Gone Wild and was pleasantly reminded that whatsgoodforgirls is listed as an online resource to "learn more about debates in feminism" Thanks Deb! Hear Deb speak this Thursday at the Woodhull Institute

Also-- when buying my book I decided to give Givneik a try-- an online service allows you to donate a portion of your purchase from selected stores to a non profit org. Sooo Girls Write Now will be reaping the rewards of my book shopping over the weekend. It was easier than I thought it was going to be, and hey! I was going to buy books this weekend anyway, why not show GWN a little love? And most importantly, It doesn't replace the check I write to them, it's an easy way for an organization I love to get a little something extra.

One more quickie: Courtney Martin has an article on Alternet which investigates the reports that the suicide rate is on the rise for 10 - 14 year old girls. (the increase is horribly depressing and I sincerely hope is not the beginning of a trend) Read her analysis and check out my expert quote here

Friday, September 21, 2007

Internship with GEMS

This is a fantastic opportunity to work directly with teen girls, supporting them as a coach, and helping them learn job skills and build economic independence. Full Disclosure-- I work at GEMS! Please spread the word as this internship will be critical to this new program's success. Thanks-- Patti

Internship-Youth Development and Advancement
Org: Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS)
Dates: September 24-June 24
Paid: Modest Stipend and Metrocard

GEMS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to empower young women, ages 12-21 years, who have experienced sexual exploitation and trafficking to exit abusive and unsafe lifestyles and develop their full potential. GEMS is the only non-profit organization in New York State to provide specialized services to young women and girls who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation with counseling, crisis housing, life skills training, job training and healthcare with consistent support and viable opportunities for positive change.

As part of our commitment to youth employability and job readiness, the staff at GEMS have developed youth employment programs, including a nine-month leadership development program that meets two organizational goals: (1) to transform under-employed young women into viable candidates for full-time professional work and (2) to build a base of youth leaders within the organization who can fully participate in programming and governance. From October to June, six fellows will serve the organization in various capacities including administration, youth leadership initiatives, community organizing, fundraising and self-development/recreational programming.

Reporting to the Youth Development Coordinator, the Intern for Youth Development and Advancement will work as part of team that helps our fellow complete 21 hours of service each week. Responsibilities include:

• Support two fellows to create quarterly, monthly and weekly goals
• Review daily tasks with fellows and support them to complete them
• Give a daily progress report to the Youth Development Coordinator
• Participate in weekly meetings and trainings

• Currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program; graduate student preferred but not required
• A very strong commitment to female victims of sexual violence, exploitation and trafficking
• Previous mentoring experience
• Working knowledge of issues and barriers facing young women of color
• Ability to create a non-judgmental but professional environment where young women can succeed
• Ability to give and receive feedback
• Must be able to work 21 hours per week

Intern will be paid a modest stipend and receive a metrocard for transportation

Application instructions:
To apply, send a cover letter and resume detailing only relevant experience to:

Chiquita Williams
Youth Development Coordinator
Girls Educational and Mentoring Services
Fax: 212-926-7984

Friday, September 14, 2007

Alpha Girl Grants in NYC

This just in from Jen at Girls Inc NYC. I love the concept of funding girls' projects. Girls get the opportunity to develop their own ideas into projects and then see the results in the real world. This isn't slacktivism-- this is the real thing!

Alpha Girls Grants of $1,000 Available for Girls ages 12 – 18!

Morgan Stanley Global Infrastructure Solutions has sponsored a "Pay It
Forward" project called Alpha Girls. Alpha Girls is all about
promoting strength in character and self esteem to young women.

Who are Alpha Girls? They are girls who:
*Want… and can… make a difference.
*Are respectful of their health, body, and mind; appreciate the "unique" you.
*Focus on achievement: do their best in academics, art, music, sports,
hobbies, work.
*Are caring: treat people fairly and kindly, help others, do not
allow anyone to bully or be bullied.
*Do the greater good: help fix the world's problems – environment,
poverty, sickness.
*Are leaders: stand up for what they believe and inspire others to do
the same

The mission of our Alpha Girls project is:
"To educate, inspire, and empower young women (ages 12-18) to become
leaders who love, respect and believe in themselves and others. We
will do this by hosting Lunch & Learn sessions with Alpha Girl role
models, and by encouraging and assisting girls to 'pay it forward' in
their communities through a mini-grant program."

What is an Alpha Girls - Pay it Forward Project?

We are collaborating with Girls Inc. of NYC to fund each girl with
$1,000.00 to implement their Alpha Girls – Pay it Forward Project that
will benefit your community.

Examples of projects:
**Buying refurbished computers, sports equipment, musical instruments,
or art supplies for your school, library, or recreation center.
**Making or buying toys for the children's ward of your local hospital.
**Planting a garden or painting your school, library, or recreation center.

All applications are due by October 15, 2007.

To learn more about Alpha Girls, view the grant guidelines and
download the grant application, please visit our website or call Jennifer at 212-531-7620.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Who reads Whats Good for Girls?

Well, my mom for one, who emailed me to say that my link to the New Paltz Women's Studies Conference on Girls doesn't work and sent me one that does.

Sorry for any confusion-- and THANKS MOM!!!

And so does Lauren Cerand the super cool PR force behind Girls Write Now's kick off party (and colleague on the Girls Write Now Board of Directors)

So.....leave a comment if you read my blog too!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Girlbomb and Bust!

Check out author of Girlbomb Janice Erlbaum's interview with Rosario Dawson in this month's Bust Magazine. Which NYC girls' organization does Rosario support? Click here to find out.

Want to hear Janice read? Mark your calendars for fundraiser/friendraiser and all-round superfun event for Girls Write Now on Oct 18th at the Slipper Room. Janice will read, so will Tayari Jones, author of The Untelling and one of my fave NYC bands Royal Pink will play.

More to come on that front!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sister in Strength internships for teens at Girls For Gender Equity

Girls for Gender Equity is looking for young women, ages 16-19 years old, for part-time, paid ($8/hr) Sisters in Strength Community
Organizing Internship. SIS confronts the multiple layers of
individual and institutional discrimination that threatens the
safety of girls and women through five core components:

1) Youth Leadership: Building and utilizing skills in
grassroots organizing to address the multiple barriers to young
women living lives of self-determination
2) Community Service: Mentoring middle school girls and boys to
build leadership skills and increase community connection
3) Consciousness Raising: Challenging one's self and
influencing others to think critically about systems of oppression
and the roles individuals and communities play in these systems
4) Social Growth and Identity: Gaining support in daily
struggles while defining and working toward future goals
5) Education and Career: Asserting the importance of education
and making education more accessible for young women of color

Interns work up to 10 hours/week from October 2007 to June 2008.
A full description of the internship duties and expectations, as
well as an application can be obtained by emailing

Please put "Sisters in Strength Internship" in the subject line.

The deadline to apply is September 14, 2007 (complete and in our
office, not just postmarked). Late or incomplete applications will
not be considered!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Women's Studies Conference focuses on Girls

Awesome-- pull out your calendars, blackberries, or other assorted datekeepers-- SUNY New Paltz's Women's Studies Conference "Girlhood: The Challenge and Promise of Growing Up Female," will put the focus on growing up female in the United States and around the world, in contemporary society and throughout history. It looks to be more than academic women talking about girls-- both girls and young women including in the keynote panel and leading workshops.

Keynote speakers include Courtney Martin author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body; Mary Roodkowsky, Senior Adviser to UNICEF; and Queen Bond, Julliany Lahoz and Cristal Pimentel, SUNY New Paltz students and recent graduates of The High School of International Business and Finance in New York City. Shameless self promotion: I've blogged about both Courtney's work and featured the NYTimes article about Queen and Crystal! High fives all around--

Enough about me, register now for the conference

The preregistration deadline is Sept. 21.