During development of the girlsCAN! program, we knew that something innovative and effective would be needed in order to create a program that would provide girls with effective methods for changing how males view them. A century of feminist movements has barely made a dent in how males perceive the role of females in our society—notwithstanding some notable legislative achievements—and we’ve even seen some disheartening regression for female equality in the past few years.
But considering the current state of girlhood in America (check out girlsCAN! Headlines for examples), the truth is that our girls simply aren’t getting the protection they need to live happy, healthy, safe, engaged lives. We need more effective methods of protecting our girls and providing them with a society that nurtures their desire to be involved.
So, after extensive research, analysis, and discussion, our solution was to combine my experience teaching females athletic skills with research findings on discrimination and social conditioning and turn them into an easily learned and practical set of techniques that girls can use to stamp out gender bias in their daily lives.
The girlsCAN! Mentors travel to classrooms across America and teach girls and boys in grades two through twelve three things: what gender discrimination is, how to identify it in their daily lives, and how to effectively shut down the adverse affects it can have on their happiness, safety, and success. Plus, our mentors do more than just give presentations and act as role models for our girls. They’re mentors who are available to our girls to discuss gender equality issues, how to implement what they learned in the classroom, or to get feedback on specific instances of gender bias that they’ve run into.
Based on the program’s adaption of the successful techniques I developed while teaching females athletic skills, combined with the research-proven techniques for eliciting behavior change in discriminators and our emphasis on mentorship, we’re confident that the girlsCAN! program has the ability to help girls make meaningful, positive changes in their lives.
Up with gender equality!