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gC! Methodology = Equality


Teaching girls how to achieve gender equality

Instead of teaching girls how to deal with sexism, we believe boys and men should be taught to embrace gender equality. But who's in the best position to change the attitudes of boys and men? Our research has shown that—armed with effective techniques—it's girls themselves who are most likely to accomplish this goal.

Jackson Beckett — girlsCAN! founder

We teach girls...
An innovative and powerful combination of research-based and real-life-proven methods for recognizing and stamping out gender bias in the people they're closest to 1: family, friends, and classmates—their inner circle.2
We first teach girls3 why bias exists and how to recognize all types of stereotyping, because before gender stereotyping can be stopped, it first needs to be understood and recognized as it's happening.
The girlsCAN! Mentors then teach practical yet very powerful tools—such as evoking empathetic response—for stamping out gender bias in their inner circle, because too often bias is either ignored or dealt with ineffectively.

I really don't like it when guys make fun of girls, even when it's my brother or my dad. I never used to say anything because I didn't know what to say, but after talking with the girlsCAN! Mentors I know exactly what to say to them so they treat me as equal.

Melea — Grade 12

We teach girls because...
Girls have a unique combination of four key advantages, making them more effective than anyone else at stamping out gender bias in their inner circle.
The key to creating gender equality is to change boys' and men's biased attitudes towards girls. But boys and men aren't going to accomplish that change on their own, and in many cases resist that change. So, who has the best chance of changing the biased attitudes of our girls' inner circle?
Our girls, of course! But why them? Because of those four key advantages we just mentioned, which are:
  • Girls receive the greatest and most immediate benefit from bringing gender equality into their lives, so their motivation to change the biased status quo is high
  • No one—not a seminar speaker, not a friend, not the government, not legislation—has more influence on a girls' inner circles than girls themselves, so they themselves are their most powerful agents of behavior change
  • Girls have long-term contact with their inner circle, so they are in the best position to exert long-term influence on the beliefs and attitudes of those in their inner circle
  • Because the people in their inner circle love them and/or care about their happiness, girls have the greatest ability to evoke the empathetic response that's so critical to the behavior-change process.

When boys wants to play football they sign up and pay the registration fee. When girls want to play football they sign up, pay the registration fee...and then start a Change.org petition.

We teach in classrooms because...
They're the most effective setting for our Mentors to teach girls the skills they'll need to change the attitudes of their inner circle.
When our Mentors ride (yes, ride!) their bikes into a classroom, it makes such an impression with the students that they're at once excited to meet the Mentors and motivated to learn about equality.
Plus, meeting the Mentors in person creates a very strong bond with the students, leading them to look to the girlsCAN! Mentors for both leadership and mentorship. Finally, classroom workshops are the perfect setting to work through specific issues and scenarios that students in that room are dealing with.

I knew gender discrimination was a bad thing, but I didn't think there was anything I could do about it. But the girlsCAN! Mentors gave us really simple ways to deal with gender bias. I've tried to use what they told us twice and it worked both times!

Laurie — Grade 10

We use the Web & social media because...
It's the best medium for building and supporting a nationwide movement of girls dedicated to stamping out gender bias.
24/7 remote access to our Mentors and to each other means our girls can get the leadership, mentorship, support, and advice they need when they need it.
And that's a good thing because it means the 40 million girls who girlsCAN!

After hearing what the girlsCAN! Mentors have gone through, and how they deal with gender discrimination, I really trust them and I know I'll be able to use what they taught us to stand up for my right to be treated equally.

Maria — Grade 8

Our Mentors are athletes because...
Athletes have all the traits necessary to inspire and motivate, so our girls naturally look to our Mentors for leadership and mentorship.
Our Mentors' cycling careers require them to set very challenging goals, and while they operate in an environment burdened with structural and cultural gender inequalities, they're up to the task thanks to their confidence, determination, and courage.
Our girls recognize these attributes and so look up to and admire the Mentors, which makes it easy for the Mentors to inspire our girls. And being inspired is what our girls need to confidently and consistently use our behavior-change techniques.

I never understood why boys made fun of girl and think they're better than us. Now I do understand, and I feel really confident I can change their attitude about girls.

Emily — Grade 11

Our Mentors are cyclists because...
Women's professional cycling suffers from a number of serious gender inequality issues, so who better than women's pro cyclist to fight gender bias?!
On top of teaching girls how to stamp out gender bias, our Mentors are working hard to end structural and cultural gender discrimination inherent in women's professional cycling, so they're demonstrating the effectiveness of the girlsCAN! techniques.

1 Because sexism is so deeply ingrained in our culture, most people are oblivious to their own sexist behavior. The result is that, despite their genuine love and caring for our girls, in almost every household fathers, mothers, brothers, boyfriends, and close friends discriminate, in some way and to some degree. It isn't usually intentional; they're simply oblivious to how ingrained sexism is in their own lives. Return.

2 We limit girls' behavior change efforts to their 'inner circle' because they have the most influence with these people and therefore have the greatest chance of successfully changing their attitudes, and also because their safety is more secure with their inner circle than with strangers or acquaintances. Return.

3 If boys are present, we include them in the conversation as agents of behavior change within their inner circle, just like the girls. Even though sexism has already been ingrained in their behavior pattern, we don't treat them as if they're part of the problem because they're actually an important part of the solution. Return.