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Friday
Jul272012

A show of Girl Power at the Olympics

I love the Olympics - ever since I was a little girl,  I always glue myself to the TV for two weeks watching every athlete enter the arena for the opening ceremony, sitting through each backstory of a particular athletes journey to be at the games, and being sad when the final performer closes out the game and I have to wait another two years for the next spectacle.  

The London games kicked off today and mark an important moment in history- for the first time, the American contingent of athletes features more women than men.  And Saudi Arabia has sent it's first female athletes to compete.  So, who will you be watching in the next few days?   ESPN W has ten phenomenal women profiled here to keep an eye an on - I can't wait to see the show of Girl Power likely to emerge.

Be sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter feeds as we post whichever amazing stories we find the next few days.   Let the Games begin!

 

-Kendra, NWGC President

Tuesday
Jul032012

A "Brave" Review 

Today NWGC welcomes guest blogger Una W., a student at Kamiak High School and a participant at many of Seattle's Youth Media Literacy Programs such as Reel Grrls, Seattle Digital Literacy Initiative, and EMP Teen Artist Workshops. Thank you, Una, for your awesome review!

Last week I got the chance to see the new Disney/Pixar movie “Brave.” It is about a young princess’ journey as she tries to change her fate and eventually become what she thinks a woman should be. I heard a fair amount of reviews and comments relating to feminist thoughts, and debate on the overarching theme throughout the movie. I found it amazingly well crafted, but did however have obvious weak spots, particularly when describing what a princess should be, with quotes like, “princesses should not have weapons” and how they should always strive for “perfection.” To me, this teaches girls that there is a standard of what a “lady” should be like and that perfection is something that can be achieved. I strongly disagree with both of those statements. But my feelings were quickly changed when the main character, Merida, fights back and “shoots for her own hand” in marriage. She also proves to everyone and all of the little girls that all fairy tales don’t have to be focused on a guy, as most of the movie was about her building the relationship with her mother. Overall, I found this movie full of lessons of feminine empowerment, writing your own life story, and creating strong mother-daughter relationships.

Friday
Jun222012

Title IX at 40

Today, we welcome our first guest blogger, Fred Northup, from Athletes for a Better World as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX:

There are many facts of history that are hard to believe.  My grandmother, for example, was not allowed to vote because it wasn’t legal for women to vote less than 100 years ago.  We celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX this weekend.  It’s hard for anyone who wasn’t alive before that date to realize the profound difference that legislation has made.

Prior to the passage of Title IX (which said that high schools, colleges and universities would have to provide the equal opportunities for women as for men), women’s sports played a secondary role in American culture. “Country Club” sports such as swimming, tennis and golf were enjoyed by women, as well as things such as equestrian activities.  Private schools would offer some teams sports such as field hockey or girls’ basketball.  But there were very few organized sports for girls as compared with boys.  While there were always a few great women athletes, sports were always considered primarily a male arena.

Today young girls grow up playing on numerous different team sports, some continue to play in high school, some earn college scholarships and a few are able to continue into the professional ranks.  The passage of Title IX did not just affect some sports, it has had an impact on sports at every level.  When college scholarships became available, girls youth sports sprang up and flourished and high school sports expanded.  As women’s sports now played a larger and larger role, women’s professional teams began to emerge slowly.  Forty years from now, women’s sports may finally reach and in many cases surpass the interest in men’s sports.  It’s called progress.  This weekend give thanks for the women who led the way and for Senator Birch Bayh who pioneered the legislation.

 

The mission of Athletes for a Better World (ABW) is to use sports to develop character, teamwork, and citizenship through commitment to an athletic Code for Living that applies to life, and to create a movement that will play a significant role in the transformation of individuals, sports, and society.

Sunday
Jun172012

Dads & Daughters

It's Father's Day, so a quick reflection to thank all the dads of daughters out there.  Thinking back on my childhood, here's a couple tips I'd encourage all dads to think about:

1) Be present - somehow my dad managed to leave work early and attend nearly all of my volleyball and basketball games.  Sometimes he was the only parent in the stands and it did not go unnoticed.  Sports and after school activities are important in a girls life - encourage her to develop her strengths and interests.

2) Be comforting - when I was sick or hurt, it was my dad I went to to make me an egg sandwich for breakfast or take me to the doctor for a cast.  Ask her about her day, listen to what she's interested in, treat her with love and respect.

3) Be involved at school - one of my favorite memories is when my dad volunteered to chaperone a sixth grade field trip.  Get to know your daughter's friends and teachers.  Cultivate her talents and help her succeed.

In this current era when girls are bombarded with negative media and stereotypes everyday, dads are key to helping us grow up to be strong and confident.  Thank you to my dad and all the dads out there.

Happy Father's Day!

Kendra, Leadership Council President

Wednesday
May162012

Seattle Girls' School Mentoring Program

Jose here, blogging to you today about a very special program: the mentorship program at Seattle Girls’ School.  I have never been a mentor, but in my middle school years, I was lucky enough to have a few that really helped guide my future direction.  Does anyone stand out for you in those oh so formative years?

Perhaps you always wanted to be a mentor and give back what you felt was so important in your development.  Well here at the NWGC we like to bring resources together.  We know the talented and amazing women that make up our individual contributors, supporters, and organizations.

Background 

“SGS is a 5th through 8th grade middle school committed to empowering young women to be leaders in their communities through a challenging academic program focused on collaboration, integration, and real-world problem solving.”

 
Mentors are asked to make an in-person, twice-a-month commitment to their mentee from October to June. “There are many ways to be involved in a mentee's life such as coming to the school for lunch, attending a class culmination, or bringing your mentee to work.” 

http://www.seattlegirlsschool.org/become-a-mentor.php

Recently, I contacted a veteran of the SGS program to get a feel for the Mentor’s experience.

 Like many of us who donate our time to non-profit work, Kelly was looking for a volunteer opportunity.  The suggestion of the SGS program came via an aunt.  At the time, Kelly’s cousin was a student at SGS.  

What follows are portions of the electronic interview I had with Kelly.  

  • How did the process of getting to know parents and mentee go for you? It was easy to get to know the parents--they were very open and friendly. My mentee was very shy at first and it took persistent hang-outs for us to really start to click. But we eventually did, and it's been lovely.
  • What types of activities do you do, and how are they decided upon? We usually go to movies because that's what my mentee likes to do. We also have gone skiing, which was so much fun. I usually email and then call my mentee, and we plan things with her parents' permission. Oftentimes her parents end up being the confirming factor, via email or phone.
  • And finally what is a specific memory or activity you are particularly fond of? My mentee and I came up with a comic book idea while we were on a chairlift once when we went skiing. She has a great, dark sense of humor and I just love her creativity. She stands out from the other students at SGS in this respect, which has made being her mentor so fun--I'm really proud of her.

Whether you are a long time volunteer, or just getting started, there’s nothing like the rewarding feeling of getting involved, sharing time, skills, and knowledge.  Take a peek at the link above for more detailed information.  Find out if this may be the right fit for you.  Best of luck and thanks for reading.  Special thanks to Kelly for her time and input.