Monday, April 30, 2007

Give it UP for Girls

Many people don't know that less than 7% of all foundation money is specifically earmarked for women and girls and it's been that way for at least 20 years. As a result, fundraising for women and girls organizations is a huge challenge-- many foundations that fund children's programs have to be convinced of the value of and the need for girls-only programming. We had a little hey day in the late 80's and early 90's, after teen pregnancy rates rose and girl-perpetrated violence became media headlines. But now we've hit a dip. As boys become the new crisis, many people think that girls are doing okay. This perception leads to slowdown of funding for girls from the the drip...drip...drip from many major funding sources. Girls organizations, many of whom are already running programs on volunteer labor and sweat equity, struggle and sometimes fold.

That's why the new series from Womens E News on Funding Serious Change is so important. Women hold the key to keeping girls' organizations vibrant and viable, through funding them and through joining together to form women's foundations. As a volunteer and board member for NYC girls organizations, I see how many girls programs are struggling financially, and I know the difference that both women's foundations and individual women donors can make.

Today's article, by Cecilia Bloom, focuses on her role as a philanthropist through the Dallas Women's Foundation. As she reflects on her own journey as a donor, she writes:
In the meantime, my husband had begun to fund causes at the six-figure level while I, like many women, was giving smaller gifts.

She uses this as an inspiration to ramp up her own giving to the same levels as her husband spcifically to help women and girls as a donor to the Dallas Women's Foundation. Good for her-- if more women ramped up their donations, growing their giving from whatever level they are currently at, women and girls organizations would be in much better shape financially.

With fundraising season in full swing, I challenge everyone to up their giving! Double your donation to your favorite girls organization this month, and see the change you can make for girls. (Need a favorite org? Some of mine are to the right, and I know they'd all LOVE to have your donation!)

Friday, April 27, 2007

So You Wanna Be a Rock Star?

The “So You Wanna Be A Rockstar” Online Auction has begun! This is your opportunity for you and yours to get the hottest rock star hook ups – all for a good cause! Awesome items are on the block, including a guitar signed by the Beastie Boys, a bag by Marc Jacobs, weekend getaways, recording studio time, and much much more.
The auction runs thru May 7, so don't delay-- get over to the auction and START BIDDING!
100% of your winning bid will go straight to scholarships for girls allowing low income girls the opportunity to ROCK it OUT. The more you bid, the more scholarships that Willie Mae Rock Camp can give out, so this is NO TIME TO BE THRIFTY. Empty your pockets, your checkbooks for the love of rock and the love of girls.
Visit Let the bidding begin!

Where Have I Been? Partying for Social Justice that's where....

This week has been a whirlwind with lots of commitments in girl-world, (grant deadlines, End Sexual Exploitation Day, and of course partying for Social Justice, like the good feminist and pro-girls woman you know me to be. So blogging has taken a back seat, although I have a back log of things to say....
But back to the partying for social change, Rachel Lloyd and GEMS received the Frederick Douglass Award from the North Star Fund on Tuesday night and I was there to celebrate. I'm always thrilled when girls organizations receive awards and public recognition as I think we are bypassed too quickly (with the excuse that girls are not really in need anymore) and funding for girls only programming is hard to come by (only 6% of foundation funding is specifically earmarked for girls and women). But I am especially thrilled to see GEMS receive this award (not just because I work there, although that does not hurt) but because this award does recognize the sexual exploitation of US youth as slavery and validates our work.
So..major props to the North Star Fund for their forward thinking on gender issues, and bringing together a large range of grantees under the heading of social change. And thanks for the great party!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Support Girls on Sunday!

(these are the details on the Lower East Side Girls Club event on April 22 to raise money for the trip to Mexico)

FUNKY FRESH Dressed2impress Ready2party Benefit for the Lower Eastside Girls Club Cascading Leadership Program

PLACE: SUTRA 16 1st Ave (btwn 1st and 2nd streets)
DIRECTIONS: F/V to 2nd Ave stop, Exit at the front if going downtown, exit back if going uptown
WHAT: "Blend of Old & Nu Skool" 80's to now Hip Hop & Pop
18+ party, 21+ to drink

Friday, April 20, 2007

Update on Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters

Courtney has gotten some great press with the launch of her book (including the New York Times) and has an interview on both the Girls Inc and Real Hot 100 websites.

An excerpt here:

Your father helped you come up with the title for your book. What role has your dad played in supporting your goals and your work?

Where do I begin? My dad is a self-proclaimed feminist. Despite looking pretty traditional on paper, he made a courageous effort to create a radically open and real relationship with me. This is especially amazing because he didn't have any role models for this kind of relationship.
He went to my basketball games, cheered me on when I wrote controversial op-eds in the student newspaper, brought me to New York City when I went away to college, and continued to call me, email me, and let me know at every turn that he was proud of the woman I was becoming.
He also adores and respects my mother—which was a great thing for me to watch growing up. Though they didn't get equal parenting quite right, there was never a question in my mind that he thought she was the most brilliant, beautiful woman on earth.

Read the Girls Inc interview here

Read The Real Hot 100 interview here

And an update-- it doesn't look like The Real Hot 100 moved on in the Net Squared competition. This is Not Good! The Real Hot 100 is a campaign which promotes the contributions that young women make in the world and is an antidote to all those glossy magazines that tell us it's our looks that matter.

Go show them some love by signing up for the newsletter or nominating a hottie for 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Girls Raise 2K to go to Chiapas

The young women in the Cascading Leadership program at The Lower
Eastside Girls Club need to raise $2,000 for our upcoming trip to Chiapas, Mexico and they need your help! They organized an old skool hip hop benefit on Sunday, April 22nd.

During the 2-week trip in Chiapas, they will work with girls in a sister club, Club Balam, and volunteer with some other women's empowerment organizations.

For more information on the program and partners in Chiapas please visit:

Girls Club World Wide
Club Balam
Pathways Project

Contact for more details

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters

Go Courtney Go!

Courtney Martin journalist, teacher, and now author, launches her new book today Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters, an examination of our current culture's obsession with thinness and how it distracts us from the things that really matter, like say politics, making a difference in the world, learning a hobby or just about anything else.

I like that one of Courtney's main messages is to EAT SOMETHING and I like that she views the obsession with weight and looks through a social justice lens. If we (or our daughters, sisters, friends, and others) are consumed with the number of calories we are eating, we are using our mental powers in a way that doesn't do anything good for us or our world.

This does not take away from our needs to make healthy choices in nutrition or exercise, instead the question is-- couldn't we be doing something much more constructive then obsessing???

Buy the book, read it, give it to someone you love!

Check out Courtney's adventures and a great picture of a girl in a tutu eating potato chips here

Engineer Girls-- What's the next challenge?

What do girls think life will be like in the next 100 years? What do girls think will be the "engineering breakthrough" of the 21st century? How will engineers make that happen?

Girls in grades 6-8 or 9-`12 can submit essays (500 - 750 words) about the future challenges and the ways engineering will solve them through a contest at Engineer Girl for cash prizes. The deadline is May 15, 2007. Essays will be judged on the basis of organization, depth of detail, and use of language by the author. You may wish to preview the scorecard for the selection criteria. Take a look at the scorecard for more info on criteria.

Read previous winners here

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Say NO to Street Harrassment

May 5, 2007
1pm – 5pm

Teen Women Say "NO!" to Street Harassment

Sisters in Strength is a group of ten teen women interning with Girls for Gender Equity, a grassroots organization based in Bed-Stuy, who are tired of the fear they feel when walking down the street. On May 5th, they will host the first summit on this issue in New York City entitled “Sisters in Strength Strikes Back: Our Struggle with Street Harassment” at the Grand Street Settlement Beacon Center at Marta Valle Secondary School (145 Stanton Street, New York, NY) to speak out about this unwanted behavior and strategize on how women and men can begin to work toward safe streets for all.

“War Zone gave me a deeper understanding of the issue of street harassment. It showed me the mentality of men, and I realized that I deserve better. It also made me want to teach young people that there are different ways to approach a woman that don’t have to be disrespectful,” says 17-year-old organizer Toccarra Baguma.

The Street Harassment Summit is a free public event for education, community interaction, and the sharing of personal stories. War Zone (directed by Maggie Hadleigh West) and a short film created by the Sisters in Strength interns will be screened and workshops will be offered on different issues – such as strategies for ending street harassment, how women can respond to street harassment safely, how street harassment effects the GLBTQ population, and how men can be allies to victims of harassment. Women, men, girls and boys of all ages are welcome to attend and learn about this overlooked issue.

All attendees will receive a gift bag including items from our sponsors: 5 Boroughs Ice Cream, Babylon Mall, Bust Magazine, Carly Couture, Collective Elements,, Feminist Review blog, GirlBomb, Girlie Pants, I am Femtastic, Jade and Pearl, Lifeway Foods, Monkeyboy Clothing Co., MyMy, Ready two Go, Red Dress Shoppe, Re-Surface, RightRides, Samy Salon, Shape of Water, Steaz Organic Beverages, Tam Aura Design, Tekserve, Tung Gear, WholeSoy.

For more information on the work of Girls for Gender Equity visit For updates about the Street Harassment Summit or to RSVP, visit or email

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Great Girls Magazine New Moon Looks for Writers

New Moon Magazine is looking for girl writers ages 8 - 14 for upcoming editions of their award winning ad free magazine. I love New Moon for their Girl Editorial Board-- who best to decide the content for a girls-magazine? Pass on this great opportunity to girls you know ages 8 - 14...

1. The Great Debate: The Prison System For New Moon's September/October 2007 issue, "The Great Debate," they will have two girls debating about the effectiveness of the prison system. They need a girl to argue in favor of the prison system. If you know a girl who thinks the prison system is a good way to hold criminals accountable and keep citizens safe, email ( with your ideas for the article.

2. Global Village New Moon is looking for Global Village articles! Global village articles must be a) written by a girl who lives outside North America b) written by a girl who is NATIVE to the country she's writing about. Since there's so much world out there, New Moon prefers NOT to publish articles about countries we've covered in the past. If you know a girl who lives outside North America who you think would be a good writer for Global Village, email for more details about whether your Global Village article idea would be a good fit.

They are also in need of submissions for other areas-- email them for more information.

Words of advice from New Moon Girls Editorial Board on how to pitch an article here

Girls' Rights Activist Wins Prize

I had no idea the World's Children Prize for the Rights of the Child existed until today. I am thrilled to see children around the world take a stand for girls' rights. Even more impressive-- check out the information on the children who make up the jury.

5,2 million children all over the world voted for the World's Children Prize for the Rights of the Child and have selected girls’ rights activist Betty Makoni from Zimbabwe as the recipient. In addition, a jury of children from 15 countries, some of whom are refugees, former child soldiers or slaves, also chose Betty Makoni as the recipient.

Betty Makoni was nominated for the 2007 WCPRC for her long struggle for girls in Zimbabwe to be freed from abuse and to have the same opportunities in life as boys. Through the Girl Child Network, Betty has built three safe villages for girls and started 500 girls’ clubs with 30,000 members, mostly in rural areas and in poor townships. The mission statement of the GCN reads, "We envision a society where girls enjoy their political, social and economic rights and walk in the fullness of their potential."

Find out what boys have to say about girls' rights here,

Find out more about the Girl Child Network here

picture from

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Girls Speak Out on June 10 (plus Jessica Valenti) from Feministing

Add June 10th to your outlook now, invite your friends, and get ready for serious girl-talent. The Girls Write Now Spring Reading is one of my favorite events of the year. NO kidding-- I love this thing. Teen girls reading their original work which has been polished through workshops and one-on-one mentoring.

Plus Jessica Valenti from you know it will rock the house.

PS. I think it's working-- google ads are more appropriate today, leadership and girls in sports, wahoo!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

See How Hot Smart Can Be

Vote for The REAL Hot 100, an amazing project that promotes young women's contributions and leaderships, and provides girls with incredible real life role models who don't get enough press for the hard work they do. Although I said I would only be doing light posting (and seriously, I need to be working on this paper for Friday's conference) I had to stop what I was doing, to ask you to vote for them at NetSquared .

The REAL hot 100 is up for a huge grant to improve their website and make the whole project more interactive and automatic. But they only get the grant if they get enough votes. That's where you come in. Please take a minute and vote for the REAL hot 100 on the NetSquared site. The details and instructions are below. Voting is only open until Saturday.

Thanks for your help! I voted-- and you should too! See the info below that comes to you via, Gwen, Gwynn, Madeline, Jessica and everyone at the REAL Hot 100. I big puffy pink heart them.

the REAL hot 100 needs your vote!
Show the world how hot SMART can be – in 5 minutes or less

Last year, the REAL hot 100 celebrated the accomplishments of 100 women from around the country – all of whom are breaking barriers, fighting stereotypes and actively working to make the world a better place. This year, we'll recognize 100 more women but first, we need to revamp our website by installing an automated nomination process and networking features to provide REAL hot winners -- past, present, and future -- with an interactive, online network of supportive, like-minded, action-oriented women – all while revolutionizing the way that young women are portrayed in the media. But, in order to do so, we need your help.

** How can you help? Cast your vote in 3 easy steps -- and, in less than 5 minutes **

The REAL hot 100 is entered in an online contest to win the chance to be one of twenty social change projects invited to the NetSquared Conference where we could be awarded the financial and technical resources we desperately need. Read our proposal here and vote for the REAL Hot 100 now.

To vote:
1. Go here and create a new account (if you're already a member, simply login). You must be a registered NetSquared user to vote. They will NOT use your email for any other purposes and you can sign off whenever you'd like.

2. Check your email. In your inbox there will be an email from with the subject header "Account Details" that will include your account password.

3. Go here, and log into your account with your new password. After you have logged in, vote for The REAL hot 100 and at least 4 other projects.

** When should you vote? **
TODAY! Right now! Voting takes place from April 9th - April 14th.

** Why do we need to win? **
The annual REAL hot 100 list shows that young women are "hot" for reasons beyond looking good in a magazine. By featuring this list of young women from around the country doing incredible things in their every day lives, we're battling the popular notion that all young women have to offer is outward appearances. The annual list is just a first step. Through the REAL hot 100 network, nominees and winners can combine their resources, share strategies and join forces to further their social causes and to affect real change. With the financial and technical resources to create a fully functioning networking website, we can make the online network a reality.

Thank you. We really appreciate your support. And, remember, a vote for the REAL hot 100 is a vote for you and every smart, socially conscious woman you know!

-- the REAL hot 100 team

the REAL hot 100
see how hot smart can be

*** Please forward this email to your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and anyone else you think would spare 5 minutes of their time to show the world how hot SMART can be! *** (you can email this post to your friends using the little envelope icon below----------------------------------->

Blog update

Hi out there--

Just a quick note that there will be lighter posting until next week. My mom arrives today, I am speaking at the CUNY Womens Studies Conference tomorrow (see weird logo above, which I really have no idea how to interpret), and life is nuts overall.

Until then, I have been pondering the Imus thing, and hope to comment over the weekend. The women at Feminist Majority held a rally in support of the team yesterday and I am waiting to hear how that went.

Otherwise, I signed up for google ads above and am both amused and disturbed at what ads come up. They are supposed to be related to the content of the blog, and so far they have been one odd assortment. I don't want to repeat the words for fear of triggering more ads. Instead I am going to close with a random assortment of words that I hope will trigger more relevant ads:

Leadership! Feminism! Girl Power! Girls Rock! Leadership! Feminism! Girl Power! Girls Rock! Leadership! Feminism! Girl Power! Girls Rock!

ok-- its just a start, but I hope it helps.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Gender Amplified

Check out Gender Amplified Women and Technology in Hip Hop a conference that will take place this Saturday April 14th at Barnard College, starts at 10am.

In addition to the opportunity to hear from female hip hop activists, my favorite part of this conference is that is was co-created (and recognized that way) by a current Barnard senior, Ebonie Smith. Colleges often benefit from student participation in creating conferences, I am thrilled that this conference is promoted as not just a Barnard College event but as a partnership with Ebonie Smith.

Details below:

When it comes to the subject of hip-hop, feminists are seldom at a loss of words. Some, like Tipper Gore, have come dangerously close to infringing on First Amendment rights in their zeal to make misogynistic lyrics simply disappear, while others, like Sarah Jones, set out to turn the genre's often troublesome take on women on its head. For them, the "bling bling, bitches-and-hoes formula that dominates hip-hop today" marks not only a fantastically adolescent digression from reality (and a hypermasculine digression at that), but also a refusal to acknowledge women's participation in and radical influence on a historically male-dominated corner of the music industry (/Ms./ magazine, Oct./Nov. 2001).

In "Your Revolution," a satiric corrective to the self-proclaimed bad boys of hip-hop who delight in treating women badly, Jones sings: /"your revolution will not happen / between these thighs . . . / because the revolution, / when it finally comes, is gon' be real."/

The Africana Studies Program, the Barnard Center for Research on Women and Gender and join in sponsoring sponsoring this conference, developed in conjunction with Barnard senior Ebonie Smith, to address the very real ways in which women are carving out space for themselves and their projects within a traditionally male-dominated industry. Increasingly, women are working as producers, deejays, emcees, and sound engineers, effectively reshaping what has been a long-standing and important medium for chronicling urban life in America into a vibrant and, yes, revolutionary platform for women artists and technological innovators.

By bringing together scholars in the field of women's and music studies, female artists, and feminists activists, "Gender Amplified" aims to move beyond familiar discussions of misogyny in hip-hop to show how women are using technology to redefine the very boundaries of music-making, not to mention their own roles in the process. Whether you're in the industry and looking to network with like-minded artists, or a music aficionado who wants a more nuanced understanding of one of the country's most exciting art forms, this is a conference you won't want to miss.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

First Daughter

Author of Young Adult fiction Mitali Perkins launched a new blog in the voice of her fictional character Sameera to promote her book First Daughter: White House Rules. The character is "Sameera, who can't vote but still wants to make a difference. She's also Pakistani-American, adopted, and provides a non-partisan insider's view of campaigning."

About the book:
The race for the presidency is on, and Sameera’s dad is a contender. Sameera’s looking forward to some cool campaign perks: hobnobbing with celebrities, meeting smart and hunky young voters, and getting a total makeover. The makeover succeeds in making her look more polished, but some of the campaign staffers aren’t content to stop there. They think the candidate’s dark-skinned, adopted daughter could hurt his chances if she doesn’t “try to be more American.” As the pressure builds, Sameera is forced to choose: Will she hide behind a fake persona or speak up for her true self?

Check out the blog here

I think girls might really like a blog written by a character from a book. I hope some of the girls talk about their own aspirations for The White House!

Thanks to Anastasia at YPulse who covered this in her daily email.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Girl Child Press looks for submissions

According to the women over at GirlChild Press, the new book they are putting together Just Like a Girl: A Manifesta! is intended to be a rough and tumble, sassy, wickedly clever kick-ass anthology. Get out your pens and composition books, your laptops, your favorite journal and write! Check out their call for submissions below; scroll down for submission details.

Where Growing Up Girl: An Anthology of Voices from Marginalized Spaces was a meditation on the state of girlhood; Just Like a Girl is meant to highlight the clever girls, the funny girls, the girls who don’t ask for permission and take up as much room as they damn well like. She is the girl who knows there is no sin in being born one; and that in spite of all evidence and current belief systems girl/woman does not equal weak.

Said girl doesn’t have to be a super hero, but she has hit a few balls out of the park, cursed out a couple trash talking construction workers, and took a few racist, homophobic, misogynistic folks to task. Ultimately, she knows how to pick herself up and brush herself off.

She’s a feminist. 2nd Wave. 3rd Wave. No Wave.
She’s high maintenance.
She has read the Patriot Act. She understands it.
She recognizes that people’s lives fall apart, but with time and some Elmer’s glue it all works itself out.
She’s an urban girl. A country girl.
She lives in a square state. A blue state. A red state.
She seriously ponders what are the SAT scores of those girls grinding in the music videos. She is the girl in the music video.
She has the perfect plan on how to break up with a boyfriend and how not to lose her cool when her 38 triple D bra snaps in the middle of a cocktail party.
She’s a 25th century girl.
She knows the words to Roberta Flack’s Killing Me Softly.
She secretly pinches her best friend’s bratty three year old.
She is a cashier at WALMART.
She’s the second chair flute in her 8th grade band.
She marches on Washington
She makes fun of vegans
She has 6,000 friends on
She still hides the tattoo that she got at senior beach week from her mother – she’s 42.
She writes for herself. She writes for her sister. She writes for the girls still not born.

Think of Just Like a Girl as a travelogue for the bumpy, powerful, action packed world of girlhood.

Tell a secret.
Reveal a lie
Go tell it on the mountain.
You get the point.

So cast a net and see what the day’s catch brings

Submission Details

Deadline: September 30, 2007

The anthology is open to any subject matter.
Work is especially welcomed from new and emerging writers.
Contributors may submit up to three pieces.
Essays and short stories should be no longer than 3,000 words.
Poems should have the contributor’s name on each page
Sci-fi is encouraged!

Send your work to

Attachments should be titled with your name and the email subject should be Just Like a Girl.

Snail mail
Michelle Sewell
GirlChild Press
PO Box 93
Hyattsville, MD 20781

Please include a brief bio and a mailing address.

Contributors will receive a copy of the anthology and the opportunity to read at the official Spring 2008 booksigning.

For more information on Michelle Sewell and the press check out

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Kiri Davis: A Girl Like Me

At a training on girls' programming that I attended as a participant a few years ago, we were walking through a piece of the curriculum that dealt with the gender stereotypes that girls face. My colleague and I asked the facilitators about how to best go about this activity with girls of color. Given our experiences (especially as white staff members) with the girls we provided programming for, it seemed to both of us that you can't really separate girls' experience of race from their experience of gender. Wouldn't it be confusing and counterproductive to separate race from gender in this way in an activity for girls, particularly when discussing the topic of stereotypes?

So, we posed this question to the women who were leading the training. Their response was baffling. They said to leave race outside of the discussion, that it is really a separate issue from gender. They gave the following analogy, "It is like if you are talking about chicken, talk about chicken, don't talk about beef. That is for another discussion."

This has stuck with me for a long time and been the topic of many discussions that I have had with women, and in particular women who work with girls. I can't think of of one person who has given this topic any thought that they experience their race and their gender as separate and distinct, like two completely different main dishes. My experience as a woman is informed by race, and vice versa.

So the first time I watched A Girl Like Me, I was struck at how clearly then 16 year old Kiri Davis was able to articulate in film, teen girls' experience of race and gender. Listen to the girls talk about hair-- this is the territory of women of color, as a place different from white women, different than men of color.

Watch her video over at Cosmo Girl (it's worth getting through the crazy-pink ad for a razor) and vote for her-- she will win $10,000.

Learn more about Kiri and her work here and here

For more on Kenneth Clark's The Doll Test

And don't forget to comment. I'm curious what others think.

(Thanks to Jessica at Feministing -- that is where I learned of the contest!)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

And This is Why We Still Need Title IX

Given the vile and horrible comments Imus made about the Rutgers University women's basketball team (too vile to be repeated here) I'm glad that Women's E News had the following good news to report this morning:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of women April 2 when it declined to hear an appeal of a lower court's decision by the Michigan High School Athletic Association, the National Women's Law Center, who represented the plaintiffs, said March 29. The association had scheduled six girls' sports to compete in off-seasons, but was ordered to schedule an equal amount of girls and boys' teams during regular seasons. The high court's decision not to take the case brings closure to a nearly decade-old legal dispute.

While girls playing on sports leagues in school is not unusual anymore and the above case is all about giving girls the same access to resources and equity, that is thanks entirely to Title IX, the 1972 federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education (not just sports). More thanks go to the National Women's Law Center who provide legal help and advocacy when girls' rights are in question.

According to their website, The National Women's Law Center has advanced and protected the rights of female students in educational institutions. The Center has long pushed for vigorous enforcement of Title IX through public education, advocacy, and key lawsuits challenging discrimination in athletics; sexual harassment, and single-sex programs that exclude young women, among other issues.

I have firsthand experience of the great work and people at the NWLC. A few years ago, we took the 7th grade girls in the girls program I ran to the AAUW Expand Your Horizons Conference. A great NWLC fellow gave a presentation to the 200 or 300 girls who were in attendance, and then came to our table and ate pizza with us and the girls. I was impressed at the way she engaged the girls-- asking them what they wanted to do when they grew up. A little baffled at an unknown adult guest at the table interfering with their pizza, they did not quite know what to make of the questioning. But when one girl finally said "I either want to do hair or be a veterinarian" the NWLC fellow asked her if she knew how much either of those jobs paid, and prodded her into thinking more about the choices in a supportive but questioning way.

When those same girls went to visit a veterinarian on a field trip several weeks later, it was this girl who practically interrogated the staff about where they went to school, and what courses they took in high school. No doubt in part to the NWLC fellow.

So many reasons to love the NWLC! Help them strengthen Title IX through signing their petition here.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Go Fight the Power!

Get funding to attend the 2007 US Social Forum in Atlanta June 27 - July 1, 2007. According to the website, the US Social Forum is

more than a conference, more than a networking bonanza, more than a reaction to war and repression. The USSF will provide space to build relationships, learn from each other's experiences, share our analysis of the problems our communities face, and bring renewed insight and inspiration. It will help develop leadership and develop consciousness, vision, and strategy needed to realize another world.

The USSF sends a message to other people’s movements around the world that there is an active movement in the US opposing US Policies at home and abroad.

We must declare what we want our world to look like and begin planning the path to get there. A global movement is rising. The USSF is our opportunity to demonstrate to the world Another World is Possible!

To help link feminist movements and social justice movements, The Funding Exchange, Ms. Foundation for Women, Third Wave Foundation, and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice are jointly providing funding for people to attend the 2007 US Social Forum. They are actively seeking applicants.

Priority will be given to low income women, women of color, young women ages 15 - 30, women with disabilities, lesbians/queer women and transgender people. Formerly incarcerated women are also encouraged to apply. All
participants will be invited to a breakfast the morning of June 28. Grantees
will be asked to write a short essay about their experiences at the US
Social Forum.


Get an application here
Email questions to

Or participate in an information call:
US Social Forum 101 Informational Call in English

Wednesday, April 11
3pm Eastern, 2pm Central,
1pm Mountain, Noon Pacific
(888) 296-6500
access code: 387157#

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Women's first and only Hip Hop Collective in Cuba

Looking for something to do this weekend?


Screening of Inventos: Hip Hop Cubano and Panel moderated
by Martha Diaz with Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi, Dj Leidis and
Majori about the role of women in Hip Hop and the power of
Hip Hop as an tool for organizing

April 6, 2007 @ 7pm - FREE
New School - Theresa Lang Center - Mezzanine
55 W 13th St. btw 6th and 5th Avenues
Co-Sponsored by LSU, SAFC and IUE
Please contact w/ questions

*DJ Leidis, Majori and Las Krudas were instrumental in the
creation of "Omega Kilay," the first and only women's Hip
Hop collective in Cuba. Their music continues to challenge
how society looks at the roles of woman while addressing
issues of racism, sexism, and homophobia.

*Inventos: Hip Hop Cubano is an award winning documentary
by director Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi that demonstrates the
power of Hip Hop in transcending cultural barriers and
creating a collective community.This documentary provides
insight into the contemporary political situation in Cuba
through the eyes of young Hip Hop artists.

Rock Stars Come in Small Packages

What? You haven't passed on an application to a girl to Rock Out this summer? Read this to get inspired-- Suzanne Grossman interviewed hard core girl rockers Magnolia for the Huffington Post. Magnolia was the first Willie Mae Rock Camp band I saw perform (last year at an event organized for the NYC V Day Festival by Girls for Gender Equity) and I thought their guitar/drum duo was awesome. The best part? They got up in the middle of the set, changed instruments and kept playing.

Want to help girls Rock Out? Here is more you can do:

Fill out an application to volunteer (even if you are not musically inclined you can be a part of it. Last year I served as the Kitchen Coordinator, bringing nourishment to the rock-volunteers.)

Check out their wicked online auction to provide scholarships for girls to Rock Out.

Feeling sad and blue that you can't go to Rock Camp? YOU CAN! Ladies Rock Camp, a fundraiser for Willie Mae Rock Camp brings women together for a weekend of quick and dirty rock and roll. Seriously, one of the best things I ever did was go to Ladies Rock Camp. But more on that later.....

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Commercial Sexual Exploitation is the Most Hidden Form of Child Abuse

April has been recognized as Child Abuse Prevention Month for the last 24 years, and while campaigns to prevent shaken baby syndrome or positive parenting have become standard fare on subways and billboards, most people are unaware that there are US born children and youth who are violently forced into the commercial sex industry at ages as young as 12 and 13. In fact, the average age of entry into prostitution is now 13.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation has been called the most hidden form of child abuse, yet it is estimated that there are between 200,000 and 300,000 sexually exploited youth in the US. Overwhelmingly, these youth are from low-income communities of color, and have experienced abuse and neglect prior to their recruitment into the sex industry. While international trafficking has garnered great media attention, domestic youth are left without protection from the law, and worse are often charged with crimes, including prostitution, and left with very few places to turn.

This week's New York Magazine follows the story of one young woman in New York City which includes brutal details that will be hard for many to read, much less believe. Yet, she is not alone, and her story shares similar elements to many of the girls GEMS works with.

GEMS, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, produced a video, telling the story of a hypothetical girl facing the same circumstances as Lucillia. Watch it on Current here

Learn more:


Full disclosure: Although I have worked for girls and women's organizations, including developing programs for girls in low income communities of color, I had no idea about the extent of this issue until joining the GEMS staff last year. The statistics and sources I quote I have learned from working at GEMS with founder Rachel Lloyd.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Looking for Work? Part Time position with High School Girls

Anne over at the IWD sent me word that they are looking for a Part Time Program Coordinator with the Young Women's Program for High School Girls with the Initiative for Women with Disabilities. Just completing its first year, the program received a Christopher Reeve Quality of Life Foundation Grant. I know first hand of some of the talent and skills the girls in this program have. Anne spoke at a panel I organized for a Feminist Organizing Course and we were able to connect one of the girls in her program with the Willie Mae Rock Camp. Turns out, this teen girl was an amazing singer and lyricist and rocked the house.

This part time position (17 ½ hours a week) includes full benefits, vacation, competitive salary. Details below.

Part-Time Program Coordinator
Initiative for Women with Disabilities

NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases has a long and distinguished tradition of medical innovation and is one of the nation’s leading orthopaedic teaching hospitals. The Initiative for Women with Disabilities is a multi-disciplinary women’s center offering comprehensive medical and gynecological services focusing on health and wellness for women with physical disabilities. In this role you will be responsible for the development and coordination of the Young Women’s Program and other related programs for the IWD. Perform outreach, recruitment and marketing in the disabled community, Department of Education, rehabilitation facilities, social services agencies that serve young women with physical disabilities ages 14-21. Recruits, hires instructors and speakers for program. Develops program materials.

Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, Therapeutic Recreation, Social Work,
Education or Counseling or related field required. Experience with disabilities and
disabling conditions required. Eight-Ten (8-10) years of progressive job related
experience with demonstrated abilities in leadership required. Excellent
organization and communication skills are required.

To Apply:
Send resume via fax or e-mail to
Fax (212) 598-6512. EOE.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Stressed Out Super Girls

Today's New York Times covers the SuperGirl phenomena-- the trend that girls are under enormous pressure to be smart, demonstrate leadership, get into the best college, all while being thin, pretty and wearing expensive jeans. Competition among teen girls is fierce for college acceptance, as girls now make up more of the college-attending population than boys. In a world where we are still encountering barriers to break (Nancy Pelosi is the first female Speaker of the House, only a miniscule percentage of Fortune 500 Companies have a woman at the helm, and yes, Harvard finally has it's first female college president) girls today live in a world where it's not only possible to break the barrier, it's expected of the best and the brightest girls to do so.

Many studies and articles have begun to articulate the cost of this pressure. Check out Courtney Martin's new book, Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters for a frank picture at the lengths girls and young women will go to overachieve and the toll this pressure can take when their bodies are the testing ground.

Unfortunately, this pressure is not limited to teen girls. Girls are feeling this pressure at younger and younger ages, as a 2006 Girls Inc study, "The SuperGirl Dilemma: Girls Grapple with the Mounting Pressures of Expectations" reveals. Among the findings:
  • Persistent gender expectations are being compounded by a growing emphasis on perfection, resulting in mounting pressure on girls to be supergirls. Three-quarters of girls (74%) in the study agree that girls are under a lot of pressure to please everyone, and 84% of these girls say that they dislike that this is true.
  • Girls say they are under a great deal of stress today. Three-quarters (74%) of girls in grades 9-12, over half of girls (56%) in grades 6-8, and just under half of girls (46%) in grades 3-5 say they often feel stressed (describes them "somewhat" or "a lot").
  • Girls want to seize the opportunities available to them, with 71% of participants reporting that they aspire to go to college full time after graduating from high school. However, stress and concerns such as the cost of college undermine girls' quality of life, particularly as they get older.

Order the study here or check out the Power Point here

Girls in the NY Times article discuss the pressure they feel to be "genuine," or to be "themselves," a demonstration of one of the normal passages of adolescence to understand who you are as an individual and at the same time a recognition that one common insult of teenagers is to call someone fake or phony. Helping teen girls navigate all of these pressures, and come to an understanding of who they are as a person is a tall order for the adults in their lives.

What adults can do:

  • Most teens want someone to talk to, who will listen to them without judgement. Try listening without talking or giving advice.
  • Support girls and young women taking some "me" time. This means taking time to do something not related to achievement, like reading a book, watching some tv, or hanging out with friends, not a study group.
  • Encourage girls to participate in an activity as a member, not having to be the leader. It's okay not be in charge of everything.