We recently blogged about the confidence gap in politics (its impact aptly displayed in the infographic above), but we’d like to explore the issue further, as it affects women in politics and in other fields. The confidence gap in politics, in short: women are not running for office at nearly the rate men are. And it no longer appears that overt sexism is responsible (or at least, completely so.) New polling suggests 90% of swing-state voters would consider voting for a female candidate for president, and women are actually coveted candidates because they are perceived by voters as more hardworking and less corruptible than men.
Why then (despite more women attending college and earning advanced degrees than men) is there such a dearth of female leadership at the top of government (and business, and science, and in Hollywood and…)?
As this NY Magazine article summarizes, “Due to negative perceptions of “bossy” women, an expectation that they’ll still have to do most of the housekeeping and child-rearing, and the persistent glass ceiling, women set their sights lower than men when they envision their professional future. Applied to politics, the ambition gap makes for a compelling reason why even politically involved women don’t see themselves as future candidates — let alone future presidents.”
Add to this a recent finding by the American Association of University Women (reported by Rachel Simmons) that “women in their first year out of college are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to their male peers—creating a heavier college debt burden and lifelong wage gap at a time when women are increasingly the primary breadwinners of their households.” This, too, is partially attributable to the fact that young women suffer from a “psychological glass ceiling”: worried about being perceived as pushy, they fail to ask for the kinds of salaries and raises their male peers do.
Even when women do ask for raises, studies have shown other people’s gender expectations can be harmful as well. According to Rachel Simmons, “In a study by Linda Babcock of Carnegie Mellon, men and women asked for a raise using identical scripts. It was the women who were branded aggressive—unless they smiled while they asked, and appeared warm and concerned for others above themselves.”
How do we encourage girls and women to stop self-sabotaging, and to fight back against a culture that tells them every day they shouldn’t be too pushy, too demanding, too masculine in seeking leadership positions? Teaching women and girls to stand up and advocate for themselves is one solution that’s proven helpful. Empowering activities, whether sports, or music, or an after-school club like clubGEN, help girls learn to be confident, assertive leaders before the confidence gap takes too strong a hold. And seeing women in positions of authority helps other girls and women believe in themselves as well- so be a model in your community. Volunteer for clubGEN’s Career Week. Run for office. Play a leading role in whatever it is you care about. Speak up. Stand up. We need to show each other, and the girls and women that come after us, that there is nothing wrong with asking (without a smile, even!) for the recognition and compensation and authority we deserve.
Girls today are very tech savvy, and many have access to smartphones, social media sites, iPads, and other wonders unimaginable just ten years ago. It can be overwhelming for parents and other role models sorting through the options available, weighing what is appropriate for girls to access and at what age. When it comes to smartphone apps, there’s an amazing plethora available. Instagram, Angry Birds, Temple Run, and Cut The Rope are just a few apps that are very popular with girls- but those apps might not always be the best use of time (which doesn’t mean they aren’t fun, for girls AND adults.)
But if you are looking for smartphone apps for girls that err away from the time-sucky and into the realm of the creative, useful, fun and educational (if maybe still a little time-sucky), GENaustin has compiled a list of suggestions for you!
In Presidents vs. Aliens, you’re asked different pieces of Presidential trivia, and if you get it right, you get to fling the head of that president at some aliens. It comes with flashcards to help you learn as well. Educational AND satisfying!
Minecraft at first glance seems fairly simple, with a limited number of resources, all in block form, that the player collects to craft and build whatever they want. But that’s where it gets engrossing– if you can dream it, you can do it (out of snow, dirt, wood or concrete). Watch out for creepers though!
From Common Sense Media, “Stack the States asks trivia questions about a state, or asks kids to identify the shape of the state. When kids answer correctly they’ll earn that state to add to their platform. The goal is to stack as many states on the platform as necessary to reach a goal line without the stack tipping over. When kids reach the goal, their reward is a state to add to their collection. As the collection grows, kids earn bonus games.”
Ever dreamed of being a pop star? Videostar opens the door to even the tone deaf-est among us. Be the creator, editor and star of your own music video, with lots of fun effects to make it as unique and creative as possible.
In Sketch Club, you create and upload your sketches into an interactive online community of artists. Sketch club gives you the ability to draw anywhere.
With Strip Designer , you can make comic strips using personal photos, sketches, speech balloons and other cool features. Tell your story!
GarageBand lets you make music wherever you are. There are multiple instruments to work with including pianos, guitars, drums, and basses. You can even write and record your own songs!
In Monster Physics, your job is to design contraptions with parts including wheels, rockets, propellers, cannons, magnets, claws, wings and more. Choose from different materials including metal, wood, plastic, rubber and ice. Connect parts together by welding them, drawing a rope or chain between them with your finger or using special dynamic joints to bring them to life.
Have a suggestion for a fun, creative app for girls? Leave it in the comments!
Growing up as a young woman can be tough, and GENaustiin works to create accepting, supportive and safe spaces for girls. All of the programs promote self expression and advocacy, address the challenges and benefits of being a girl, and create an environment that embraces and supports each unique girl.
GENaustin has provided me with an amazing system of support. The women that work at and volunteer with GENaustin are exceptional people, and it’s been wonderful to spend so much of my time surrounded by confident and kind women. However, the most enriching part of my GENaustin experience has been working with the young women in our community. The girls I have met through GENaustin’s various programs are bold and brave, and I look forward to seeing the wonderful ways that they are going to change the world.
You probably saw Dove’s new “Real Beauty Sketches” video all over social media the past few days- we posted it on facebook ourselves yesterday. The video shows a number of women describing themselves to a sketch artist who does not actually see their faces, and then being described to the sketch artist by other women. The difference in the sketches demonstrates the way we often fixate on our flaws, blowing them up in our minds until they are all we see when we look in the mirror. Strangers are much kinder to us than we are to ourselves. Not a bad message, and important to remember.
A number of commentators have pointed out some concerns with the video, however, and they’re important to keep in mind as well. You might have noticed the main participants don’t stray far from conventional standards of beauty (white, tall, young, thin) , and women of color are on the screen for less than ten seconds of the six minute video.
How do we balance accepting ourselves and celebrating our beauty with changing the focus away from our appearance altogether? One could argue that we are doing the idea of “Real Beauty” a disservice by allowing it to be co-opted by a major company that has a vested interest because of the products they sell on keeping the focus on what’s outside. As this blog points out:
Why are so many females I know having such a strong reaction to the sketches video, being moved to the point of tears?
Because the message that we constantly receive is that girls are not valuable without beauty.
Brave, strong, smart? Not enough. You have to be beautiful. And “beautiful” means something very specific, and very physical. Essentially every movie and tv show and commercial shows us that, right? It doesn’t matter what other merits a woman posses, if she is not conventionally attractive, she is essentially worthless (go watch Miss Representation for more thoughts on this). And my primary problem with this Dove ad is that it’s not really challenging the message like it makes us feel like it is. It doesn’t really tell us that the definition of beauty is broader than we have been trained to think it is, and it doesn’t really tell us that fitting inside that definition isn’t the most important thing. It doesn’t really push back against the constant objectification of women. All it’s really saying is that you’re actually not quite as far off from the narrow definition as you might think that you are (if you look like the featured women, I guess).
And that’s not even taking into account that Dove is owned by Unilever, who is responsible for Axe Body Spray’s offensive and objectifying ad campaigns. So, when you see a Dove ad, appreciate that they’re making an effort- but keep in mind that what we really need to understand, the thing that really needs to be accepted on a societal level, is that regardless of what we’ve got going on on the outside, it is who we are internally and what we do with that that makes us beautiful. And that message is never going to come from Dove.
A new study by the American University of Public Affairs confirms something you probably already realized from surveying our current political landscape- that men hold far more elective offices than women (despite the fact that when women run, they are just as likely to win.) The study focused on young people ages 18-25, and surveyed their interest in ever running for office. Results found that young men were TWICE as likely to respond they definitely planned on running for office as women. It gets worse: when surveyed about job positions in general, THREE TIMES as many women expressed being open to being a secretary as were open to being a member of Congress.
Why is this? The authors identified 5 factors:
1. Young men are more likely than young women to be socialized by their parents to think about politics as a career path.
2. From their school experiences to their peer associations to their media habits, young women tend to be exposed to less political information and discussion than do young men.
3. Young men are more likely than young women to have played organized sports and care about winning.
4. Young women are less likely than young men to receive encouragement to run for office –from anyone.
5. Young women are less likely than young men to think they will be qualified to run for office, even once they are established in their careers.
What can we do to remedy this situation? It starts with making sure parents, teachers, and media are sending the message to girls that fields like politics, science, and business are open to girls, too. It means making sure girls have mentors and people they look up to who encourage them and make sure they know what they are capable of. It means dealing with the confidence gap that plagues women not just in politics, but in all career fields.
We also need to stop sabotaging ourselves. As Rachel Simmons details in this excellent blog post on college women and the confidence gap:
In a 2011 Princeton University study of its undergraduates, researchers discovered a host of psychological barriers curbing women’s campus participation and potential. Although Princeton women were enthusiastically engaged in extracurricular and academic work, they chose jobs in organizations that kept them squarely out of the spotlight. They also made self-deprecating remarks, undersold themselves, spoke up less in class and were unlikely to put themselves up for awards or fellowships without special encouragement.
It’s clear women face intense societal pressure that men do not, and it is impacting how much we put ourselves forward:
The women also reported juggling ruthless cultural expectations of how women should look and act. “[We] are supposed to be smart, involved in many different activities, and also pretty, sexy, thin, nice, and friendly,” as one woman said. “Women are expected to be poised, witty, and smart,” said another, “but not so witty or smart as to be threatening to men.”
The good news is that the factors that are limiting young women’s leadership can be overcome. The AU study found women are just as likely to respond to encouragement to run for political office as men. We can make sure girls feel capable of becoming leaders, and the more girls that do, the more will be encouraged to follow in their footsteps.
I have volunteered for GENaustin for about 3 years. I volunteer because I believe in their mission. I see the committment to the program from Julia right down to the Vista volunteers GENaustin hosts each year and of course, the campus volunteers. I may only see the office staff but I know there are a lot of committed people out there making it all happen.
GENaustin’s work is important to me because having a step daughter who has struggled with some of the issues GENaustin helps maturing girls with brings their work closer to home. Not all girls have parents that are involved and in many cases I know that GENaustin provides that structure and voice of support, reason and direction for some girls through their programs. Girls today are dealing with a whole host of peer issues, social issues and self image issues and GENaustin helps to address some of those.
My wife and I both have a strong sense of volunteerism whether it be with a group like GENaustin or one of the other organizations we volunteer with like Austin Pets Alive. We don’t stop there as we are always available to friends and others when a need is there.We generally do it to hopefully help to enrich the lives of others somehow. Likewise, it is also out of a sense of committment to community. I enjoy the feeling when I hear thanks from those I have helped. It feels great to have helped someone somehow and to be appreciated. That is something I always get from the people at GENaustin.
We all have life skills and I would say to someone that all of their life skills are welcome. We all bring something to the table and you don’t have to dig deep to find a valuable skill to lend. In my case, I have spent over 20 years in managing large IT departments at the corporate level for both public and private companies. I fix desktops and printers at GENaustin. Even though I haven’t done desktop support for years, it’s like riding a bike. I haven’t forgotten how and I am glad to be able to share that skill with GENaustin.
There is also another reason to volunteer with GENaustin … the people that work there. They are committed, dedicated and genuinely good people doing a lot of good for others.
Did you know Austin is #1 in the nation for young entrepreneurs overall? And ranked #7 for female business owners? Our city is full of people making their dreams a reality– but that doesn’t mean women and girls don’t face obstacles to theirs. Although the rate of female-owned business are growing nationwide, women still lag behind men in business and leadership positions. Women tend to own smaller businesses, and only one-in-five businesses with a revenue of $1 million or more is female-owned. Only 4.2% of Fortune 500 CEO’s are women. In the non-profit sector, which tends to employ more women, only 19% of CEOs are female.
There are reasons for this. As late as 1974, in some states women were still not allowed to hold credit in their own name. Our media plays a big role, too. Growing up, children watch movies where only 19% of the people “on the job” are women. How do we think this impacts what girls envision themselves capable of?
Studies show that early in life, girls want to pursue careers in business, technology, and science. It is not until social expectations, media messages and gender discrimination take hold that they move away from pursuing these fields. GENaustin wants to do something about this. Our upcoming workshop “Sweet Success: Girls Minding Their Own Business” features a panel of successful local female business owners who will help middle and high school girls see that owning their own business is a fun and rewarding career path open to them.
When I got invited to my first high school party, I can’t even explain how excited I was. This was my opportunity to break free of middle school and make my debut into the social scene as an official high school student. So obviously the first thing that would be on my mind concerning the party would be what outfit to wear. I called up an old friend of mine who happened to be a senior boy and asked him to be a consultant in regards to my outfit, because he obviously would know better than I would what to wear to this party. I showed him an outfit that was pretty formfitting, and the reaction that I received shocked me. He told me that I couldn’t wear the dress because I looked like a slut and someone would rape me and it would be my fault because I dressed that way. Think about it. A teenage boy was telling a teenage girl that she couldn’t wear an outfit because she would be asking for rape and it would be her fault as well.
With ideas like this being spoken or thought, I think it’s long overdue for us to have….The talk. This gigantic “clothes cause rape” elephant has been in the living room of society for far too long, and I know it’s an extremely uncomfortable subject, but we need to discuss it, and keep discussing it. Every 2 minutes, a woman in the USA is sexually assaulted, says RAINN (the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network). Our society has a tendency to blame the victim because she dressed a certain way; we live in a “She’s Asking for It” culture. However, rape, under no circumstance, should ever be pinned on the victim, no matter what she wore.
Women dress to feel comfortable, to feel pretty, and to have confidence in themselves, and every woman has a particular style that accomplishes these goals for her. But society is indirectly taking away this freedom of expression by limiting what we’re allowed to wear by blaming sexual violence on the victim. This victim-blaming idea is demonstrated perfectly in a study called “Wake Up to Rape” by the New Haven Sexual Assault Referral Centers. 56% of women surveyed said that they believed rape victims should take responsibility for what happened to them. 28% (more than 1/4) of survey respondents said that culpability lies with the victim if she dressed provocatively. Because of these attitudes, more than 50% of women believed they would be too embarrassed or ashamed to tell anyone of what happened to them. Maybe that’s why out of the roughly 200,000 sexual assault victims (12 or older) each year, less than half will ever report their assault to the police. We should be taking care of the victims, not making them feel even worse about what happened to them.
Elizabeth Harrison from the New Haven Sexual Assault Referral Centers sums it up perfectly when she says, “Clearly, women are in a position where they need to take responsibility for themselves – but whatever you wear and whatever you do does not give somebody else the right to rape you.” If a girl was walking by a group of high school football players hanging out without their shirts on, she obviously couldn’t resist running her hands over their washboard abs. They were asking for it, right? She couldn’t stop herself, right? Then why is there that double standard? No one has a right to your body except for you. Hopefully America will start changing their perspective on rape and victim-blaming soon, before countless other women and girls take responsibility for a crime that they didn’t commit.
Clothes don’t speak. But I do. And I’m telling you, “I’m not asking for it.” No woman is. No matter what she wears.
I actually did a search for organizations in the area focused on healthy body image for girls and GENaustin was the first link. After a little research I found out that GENaustin was also a Powering the Possible organization that Dell partners with. That sealed the deal for me and I called the volunteer coordinator to start training. Everything that GENaustin strives to do in the community is something I wanted to be a part of. I was looking for a way to make my domestic violence advocacy full circle. I believe in prevention, support and education. I had the support and education part covered with two other organizations that I volunteer with. The workshops that GENaustin offered looked to cover all of the preventative measures needed to combat unhealthy relationships.
I have some heavy volunteer assignments with other organizations from talking domestic violence related hotline calls to sexual assault accompaniment work so to see these young girls still so hopefully about this world we live in gives me hope and inspires me for days to continue my work as an healthy relationship advocate. The We Are Girls Conference has changed my life dramatically and I tell anyone who will listen about it. The different workshops offered address the important stuff that as adults we often just tell teens “ feel good about yourself or have high self-esteem” Well for many teens no one ever tells them what that really means or more so “how” that truly should look or feel. GENaustin has opened the door to the “how” on these issues. The workshops often provide an eye opening experience to the girls and they leave with the knowledge that media is not always right especially when it comes to defining beauty!
My pageant system Texas Plus America Pageant has pledged to sponsor scholarships to the yearly conference based on the amazing work that GENaustin does with these young ladies and their parents as well. Our system allows ladies of any size to compete in pageantry and we believe GENaustin exhibits everything we stand for. Preparing strong, smart, and empowered young women to become giving and informed future leaders in society. The images shown to girls often reinforce the idea that you must look a certain way to be beautiful. My pageant sisters and I have made it our mission to show girls that rather you want to compete in pageants or became an Olympic athlete you have the power to decide and the number it reads on the a scale can’t measure your true worth.
I also have the pleasure of not only being involved with GENaustin on my personal time but my employer Dell also sponsors the We Are Girls Conference so when I was asked to lead the Dell Social Media Community Service project for Americas I jumped at the opportunity and I knew who the first organization I wanted to work with was. The task force is offering nonprofit organizations a chance to revamp their social media to make a bigger presence. We are in the early stages with GENaustin to take on the way the org gains volunteers and donations as well as the curriculum used to educate girls and parents on the pros and cons of social media. I love that GEN not only focuses on the pit falls associated with social media but also all the really informative, helpful, and cool ways we can utilize technology. I am optimistic about the project as well as our pageant on March 23rd to see how many scholarships we will be able to provide with donations.
Last night GENaustin’s We Are Girls Conference Committee had their kick-off event at the UT Women’s Basketball game against Kansas, hosted by the beloved Coach Jody Conradt in a private suite. It was a big turnout and UT won so there was a lot of victorious spirit in the room – many Hook ‘Em Horns in the air and lots of orange!
This powerhouse committee is made up of local independent philanthropists and corporate representatives. Of the women who came together last night, none of them had met before. By the end of the night, however, it was clear that these women will not only have a great time together socially but will also do meaningful fundraising for GENaustin’s We Are Girls Conference. Coach Conradt even gave a pre-game inspiring speech to our committee members as they were huddled in a circle about the connection between her UT athletes and the girls of GENaustin. “When girls are a part of a team, they are more successful in life,” said Conradt.
The above photo shows the committee members who were present at the UT game. From left to right: Karen Potter (Deloitte); CJ Legare (Functional Girl); Lori Knowlton (Home Away); Julie Fischer (Samsung); Theresa Woodiel (National Instruments); Jana Grimes (Austin Ribbon & Computer); Rebecca Powers (Impact Austin); Ami Kane (GENaustin); Darcy Kurtz (Macheen, Inc.); Julia Cuba (GENaustin); Jody Conradt (University of Texas) and Leigh Ann Lindsey (EZ CORP). Members of the committee who could not be present last night include Linda Benge, Diane Land, Lynn Meredith, Cathy Thompson, Sara Rodell, Julie Mathis, Bettye Nowlin and Ane Urquiola.
Last week, GENaustin was honored with a visit from Ms Poh-itaeda-oh, a dignitary and the founder and director of Women for Peace/We Peace in Thailand. Women for Peace/We Peace was established in 2004 in response to the escalation of the conflict in southern Thailand and the increased negative impact on citizens, particularly youth and women. The immediate objective of We Peace was to support women and youth in promoting conflict transformation through non-violent advocacy for peace. Initial activities included the provision of financial and psychological support to victims of the conflict. Through this activity, We Peace began building a strong and broad network throughout the Deep South provinces of Thailand.
Ms. Poh-Itaeda-Oh came to the US through the US Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program in order to:
GENaustin is honored to have been one of the organizations selected to meet with her, and learn more about the challenges facing women in Thailand.
For background on the situation: Southern Thailand is being rocked by conflict between Thai Buddhists and insurgents. According to Human Rights Watch:
“The Pejuang Kemerdekaan Patani insurgents are guided by a combination of extremist ethnic Malay nationalism and Islamist ideologies. They assert that Thailand’s southern border provinces should be liberated from ethnic Thai Buddhists to create what they call Patani Darulsalam (Islamic Land of Patani). The insurgents use a campaign of violence and terror to oppose what they contend is an ethnic Thai Buddhist occupation. In this context, they do not tolerate the presence of the non-ethnic Malay Muslim population, and aim to drive out all Thai Buddhists, keep Malay Muslims under control, and discredit the Thai authorities.”
Separatist insurgents in the three southern most provinces of Thailand are targeting and deliberately murdering civilians, with more than 5,000 killed since January 2004. Because they are killing people with no purpose, anyone could be shot at any moment, and in fact Ms. Poh-itaeda-oh’s 5 siblings have been murdered. In addition, because the culture of Southern Thailand is very violent towards women, they in particular are in danger. Ms. Poh-itaeda-oh is fighting for both causes, and her life is in danger when she is in Thailand because of what she represents.
Speaking with the dignitary, we formed a circle with chairs (no tables) and Ms. Poh-itaeda-oh spoke to a translator who shared her amazing story with us. The experience left us all feeling very grateful for the chance to learn about the challenges facing girls and women in Thailand and re-inspired to continue the movement to improve our culture for girls.
My favorite part of being in clubGEN was being able to have a safe place where I could hang out with friends and talk about anything I was struggling with. I always knew that when I left, I would feel better!
I did have a hard time with bullying in middle school, my friends also went through some really tough situations! clubGEN provided me with a place to release all my stress and talk things over with some great advisers I knew I could trust. No matter what the problem, they always had an answer on how to deal with it!
ClubGEN really built up my confidence, so going into high school I was really prepared to start over and be myself. It helped make that transition so much easier, to know that I was capable of handling situations in a positive and mature way. It also really strengthened my leadership skills.
ClubGEN inspired me to pursue a career that I’m so passionate about, helping others. If I can find away to lift people up in the way clubGEN did for me then I know I’ll be contributing something to this world! It inspired me to make a difference and use my leadership to inspire others to be confident in who they are!
Cyber-bullying is a phenomenon frequently associated with teenage conflict (and it’s true, cyber-bullying has negatively impact the lives of many teens, male and female. Some, tragically, have even gone so far as to take their own life because of it.) But cyber-bullying is often also directed at adult women by people online who seem to feel threatened if they see a female who doesn’t meet their arbitrary (and frequently impossible) standard of beauty. News Anchor Jennifer Livingston was one such woman.
After her picture was posted on Chicago Bears Fan Page on Facebook, along with vicious comments about her appearance, Kaitlyn took to Youtube to request the page be taken down. Although initially Facebook resisted, she was eventually successful. Kudos to women like Jennifer and Kaitlyn, who don’t back down when faced with hatred and vitriol. In a world where such things are unfortunately commonplace, they are an inspiration to all girls and women.
Cyber-bullying is happening. GENaustin wants to give girls the tools they need to deal with it. Our Executive Director, Julia Cuba, recently appeared on KVUE to talk about online teen shaming, and the resources that are available to help girls develop a foundation of self-esteem. Check out the video and find out more about clubGEN and our parent workshops by following the links.
February 25th to March 1st is a very special week for clubGEN, an opportunity for girls and community members alike. GENaustin is looking for career women from a wide variety of fields (in the past we’ve had archivists, psychiatrists, police officers, painters, businesswomen- you name it!) to come speak to after school groups of 5th to 8th grade girls about their work.
This is a low-time commitment, high-reward chance to inspire girls and show them they can become anything they dream of being. Just a few hours one afternoon could change a life!
I found out about GENaustin about a year and a half ago by googling “women’s issues volunteering austin.” GENaustin was one of the first results, and as soon as I read about club I knew I wanted to volunteer, and I submitted my application and called the office that day. I have been a volunteer since September 2011.
I love getting to spend time with a group of amazing and intelligent middle school girls each week talking about issues that are important to me. The best part, though, is playing games and giggling with the girls – they’re so much fun!
GENaustin is an organization that is doing really important hands-on work in our community, and it gives you the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of girls on a personal level. Also, the organization itself is excellent to work with – they are flexible and kind, and provide great support.
Shopping for girls typically involves digging through shelves of rail-thin dolls in tube tops and preparing oneself to face one of the narrowest color-schemes imaginable (are toy manufacturers operating under the assumption that girls are walking around with a mysterious gender-based color-blindness, unable to see or respond to shades other than fuischa, neon pink, and glitter?) It can be difficult to find options that are exempt from these rules (and the gender-neutral easy bake oven isn’t out yet) but we’ve compiled a list for those of you that left shopping to the last minute, but are still unwilling to break down and buy the purple gourmet-kitchen set (we assume the tagline must be something like, “It’s never too soon for your six-year-old to learn to load the dishwasher”?)
Here they are, our recommendations for empowering last-minute gifts for girls:
Goldie Blox is an engineering toy set for girls. Goldie Blox is a combination book and construction toy for ages five to nine that teaches skills like building a belt-drive that spins using a peg board, crank, ribbons, axles, wheels, washers, and a crank. While still pink, it gives girls the opportunity to build their confidence as they problem-solve.
While still unfortunately hidden away in the boys section of the Discovery website, there’s no reason your daughter also couldn’t learn to practice her beats on this eight-piece drum set.
Breaking free of Barbie’s iron-fisted reign of terror over girls toys is nearly impossible- and maybe, if they keep moving in this direction, unnecessary. The Mega Bloks Barbie Build ‘n Style Luxury Mansion is a construction set for girls that helps them develop their spatial reasoning skills, with eight build-able rooms to customize.
According to Amazon, this play set ”allows youngsters to recreate scenes that reflect today’s multicultural society. In this way children develop an awareness of cultural and generational differences, and begin to understand and respect that people have different needs, views, cultures and beliefs.” Who doesn’t want to get behind that?
With Roominate, you can “build any room you can imagine.” Created by two female Stanford engineers, Roominate is not your typical dollhouse. Girls are responsible for building the rooms, decorating with wallpaper and installing the circuits that power the lights, fans and door buzzer. Learn how fun science and engineering can be!
I found GENaustin on KUT’s “Get Involved” section. I had decided that my New Year’s resolution for 2012 would be to get more involved in the Austin community, so on January 1st, I sat down to look at some organizations. As I often joke, when I finally stumbled upon the entry, the heavens parted and the angels sang! I had my first training two weeks later, and the rest is history!
I have a masters in media literacy, so the fact that components of GENaustin’s curriculum includes these learning styles is a huge draw for me. Most of my volunteer experience has been with the body image workshops, so I love the girls’ reactions when they see unedited photos of celebrities or models. I really enjoy seeing how enthusiastic they are to learn and especially love it when lessons “click”. Overall, I think because the mission aligns so well with my own personal beliefs, it’s really easy for me to be passionate and stay involved with the work that GENaustin does.
Don’t hesitate! It’s a great way to encourage our future female leaders to communicate assertively, understand and build healthy relationships, and most importantly, love and appreciate themselves.
I had been in girl services with Girls Inc. of Indianapolis for a number of years. It was a life changing experience and I knew that I wanted to continue to work with girls. Before moving to Austin I checked out the girl service organizations in town, and I fell in love with what GENaustin was doing. Like most women, I remember struggling with self-esteem and knowing how to make healthy choices as a teen. I hadn’t quite seen an organization before with such an authentic, innovative approach to the challenges girls face.
Everyone genuinely cares about the mission and girls come first. We’re always sharing the latest articles and research about girls. And beyond that, our team is really supportive—we always find time to check in with each other and pitch in when someone needs help.
That what we’re doing is so incredibly necessary. Every time I’m at our programs, I see our direct service staff giving girls skills and support they might not otherwise have. And it’s always in a way which is fun and safe for girls so that it really sticks with them. I remember talking with one mom after we did a body image workshop with her daughter’s 5th grade class. She was so relieved to have us as an ally in her mission to help her daughter analyze negative media messages. She kept thanking us over and over.
I’m excited to advocate for all of GENaustin’s programs and to share the news about our work with the community. I really believe in what we do here, and I’m looking forward to building more support behind our mission.
There’s so much that I’d like to share with them, but for the sake of space, I’ll limit it to this: We are making a big difference in the lives of our girls. If anyone is interested in being a part of our mission, I’d love to talk with them more, tell them all about what we do, and learn about their interests. I can be reached any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Girls face constant and continual pressure from the media to achieve an appearance that is not possible without the aid of computer technology, staged lighting, and a dedicated makeup person. Despite this, girls often feel terrible for not reaching this impossible goal. Read the statistics.
Girls are twice as likely as boys to develop depression after reaching puberty. Additionally, girls often process and display signs of depression in ways society might not recognize. Because of this, it’s extremely important to be aware of signs of depression in girls and know how to help. Read the statistics.
Women are much more likely than men to develop an eating disorder. Eating disorders are on the rise, and girls as young as six have reported wanting to diet to become thinner. Read the statistics.
Alcohol use is becoming increasingly prevalent among teen girls, and at earlier ages. In addition, 1 in 10 teenage girls report using prescription drugs to get high in the last year, compared to only only 1 out of every 13 boys. Read the statistics.
The rate of female juvenile delinquency is now accelerating faster than that of boys. Additionally, the juvenile justice system was not created with the needs of girls in mind. Read the statistics.
Girls report feeling empowered and motivated by having a space to talk openly about the issues facing they face. Often, girls feel embarrassed to speak openly about issues like puberty, body image issues, the pressure to date, etc. Girl-specific spaces give them the ability to seek and find support among their peers and trusted adults. Read more.
Dating violence is often under-reported, especially among teens. Read the statistics.
Despite comprising over half of the US and world population, women are still woefully under-represented in business, government, and leadership positions, and often women report feeling less confident in men in seeking leadership positions. Read the statistics.
None of us can help but be impacted by the culture and society we are raised in- and sometimes, we can unintentionally pass along body image or other issues we developed growing up to the next generation. By helping girls develop positive self-esteem young, we can ensure their daughters, nieces, younger sisters, and other girls in their lives will also benefit from the positive messages passed down to them as they enter young adulthood and beyond. Read more.