Throughout the past month, I had the pleasure and honor of attending several seminars and events geared specifically to women: Chicago Foundation for Women, Aspire Foundation Mad Leadership and speaking on a panel at the Junior League National Conference. During these events, I was surrounded by thought-inspiring women leaders who are driven to make the world better and safer for women and girls. These women-focused events made me think about the importance of the girl-only environment we have at Girls in the Game.
I know firsthand how this environment fosters unshakeable confidence and grit. I grew up in Milwaukee and attended an all-girl high school. Students in single-sex schools are often more willing to take risks because they do not fear falling on their face in front of the other sex. As a result, the classrooms in these schools are often dynamic, free and bursting with ideas and conversation–all hallmarks of a great education.
I distinctly remember the first instance when I realized how the girl-only environment supported me. I was in my first class as a freshman at Marquette University. The professor asked a simple question. I clearly remember raising my hand and answering. I looked around to see surprise from the men in the room that I was bold enough to speak. It was the first moment that I realized I was encouraged to speak my mind, stand up for what I believe in and walk the path that suits me. It was liberating and empowering.
Creating a Safe Space
Being girl-only provides a safe place for girls to express their thoughts and opinions in an accepting and empowering environment. I’ve been able to attend many of our programs in the past few months. At overnight camp I watched girls dance, sing and express themselves with excitement. I also witnessed them support someone who was shy and nervous.
During our afterschool program, I overheard one of the girls in our program tell her brother, “This is more fun without boys because I get a chance to catch the football. I’m good at it.”
Arguably, the single greatest benefit of Girls in the Game being girls-only is the greater breadth of opportunity which the all-girls program can create. We live in a culture which teaches girls that leadership, football and engineering, to give just a few examples, are “boy subjects.” At Girls in the Game, we encourage girls to try everything and show them there is no limit to what they can accomplish.
If you believe in the power of girls-only spaces at Girls in the Game, and want to see us empower more girls, please vote daily for us to win $50,000 from Gatorade. Share with your friends & family who care about developing leaders for the future!