Girls Inc. Empowers Girls to Be Strong, Smart, and Bold

girls_inc_logoBy definition, a bill of rights is a document or piece of legislation setting out the rights or entitlements of a particular group or class of people. More than 25 years ago, national Girls Inc. codified the Girls’ Bill of Rights, outlining certain truths the organization sees as fundamental. Their mission–then, now and always–is to support girls and to ensure that their rights are recognized and respected.

Girls’ Bill of Rights

  1. Girls have the right to be themselves and to resist gender stereotypes.
  2. Girls have the right to express themselves with originality and enthusiasm.
  3. Girls have the right to take risks, to strive freely, and to take pride in success.
  4. Girls have the right to accept and appreciate their bodies.
  5. Girls have the right to have confidence in themselves and to be safe in the world.
  6. Girls have the right to prepare for interesting work and economic independence.

Girls Inc. focuses on the development of the whole girl, and as a result, girls learn to value themselves, take risks, and discover and develop their inherent strengths, and the Girls’ Bill of Rights helps them do that. This important work is crucial for girls and young women to develop healthy self-esteem. Case in point, DoSomething.org reports that, “seven in 10 girls believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.” The organization also reports that, “75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, or disordered eating. This compares to 25% of girls with high self-esteem.”

Girls Inc. is making a difference for girls nationwide through a combination of long-lasting mentoring relationships, a pro-girl environment, and evidence-based programming that equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers, and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. The organization is also heavily involved in advocacy work. At the local affiliate and national levels Girls Inc. focuses on policies and practices that support girls’ health and wellness and fosters school climates that are conducive to learning, particularly those from underserved communities and those who face discrimination and other obstacles because of their race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or religion.

Even without a local Girls Inc. organization, the Girls Inc. Bill of Rights applies to all girls. Jen Faust, Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara’s CEO, urges everyone to keep the Girls’ Bill of Rights front and center in supporting and advocating for girls. She wrote in May, “If you want to do something impactful in your day-to-day, please remember our Girls’ Bill of Rights and help infuse and reinforce these rights in our society when you interact with girls — and boys. When girls are given the tools and opportunities to succeed, not only do they change their own circumstances, they also are empowered to change the circumstances of others around them. By equipping our girls and all youth with skills that are part of the Girls Inc. Experience, the idea is that they will be immersed in school environments where they can make a difference knowing how to advocate for themselves and for their peers.”

To learn more about Girls Inc. or the Girls’ Bill of Rights go to girlsinc.org or  girlsincsb.org.

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