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My Medicaid, My Life

by Alice Wong, Founder and Project coordinator for the Disability Visibility Project. Originally published in The New York Times here.

I am a Medicaid welfare queen. When Republicans talk about safety net programs like Medicaid, Social Security and food stamps, they evoke images of people like me gabbing on their smartphones, eating steak and watching TV from the comfort of home. Political rhetoric and media coverage paints us as unmotivated and undeserving individuals, passive consumers of taxpayer dollars who are out to “game the system,” taking resources away from hard-working people.

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Run like a GIRL

by Fiona Ma, Chairwoman Emeritus of the California State Board of Equalization. Originally published here.

Why is run like a girl, scream like a girl, or cry like a girl one of the most insulting things you can say on the school yard? Why in movies do we see girls relegated to the damsel in distress, the absurd scientist running through the forest in high heels, or the romantic sidekick? Society has instilled in all of us that women are the weaker gender – to be compared to a woman has been an insult since before I can remember.

Instead, we should teach girls (and boys too!) to be leaders, champions, adventurers, entrepreneurs, heroes that save the day, and to stand up for your beliefs. That’s why I ran for public office, to make a difference in my community and to be a champion for what’s right.


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5 Innovative Camps Introducing Girls To Tech Careers 

by Kara Sammet, Inclusion & Leadership Strategist. Originally published here. 

Girls are less likely than boys to be told by parents and teachers that they would be good at computer science. Girls are also less likely to participate in extracurricular tech programs and less aware of how to learn computer science via the internet. Yet, tech sector jobs are among the highest-paying occupations for women. Just as important, technology provides a powerful medium for girls and women to create meaningful solutions to global problems and to tell stories that shape how we view the world.

Here are five summer programs to help you encourage a girl to create, design, play and change the world through tech.

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Building a Stronger California in 2017

by Equal Rights Advocates (ERA) Staff. Originally published here.

On April 4 – Equal Pay Day – we rallied with the Stronger California Advocates Network and members of the Legislative Women’s Caucus to launch our 2017 legislative agenda for women’s economic security.

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3 Successful Strategies to Fight the Gender Wage Gap

by Kara Sammet, Equity & Inclusion Strategist. Originally published on FairyGodBoss.


Photo credit: #WOCinTech Chat

The gender pay gap is real -- and it’s significantly worse for women of color. Yet politicians are still arguing that equal pay is “bad for society” and will create problematic competition for “men’s jobs.”

So, what can you do to close the gender wage gap for yourself and other women? Here are three successful strategies:


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When I Joined the Oakland Teen Empowerment Pageant:

by Anna Sara M., alumna of the Oakland Teen Empowerment Program

"Hi, my name is Anna Sara and I am going to college. Hola, me llamo Anna Sara y voy a la universidad. Bonjour je m'appelle Anna Sara et je vais aller a l'université."

A proper and impressive first impression was one of the first things I learned when I joined the Oakland Teen Empowerment Pageant. I remember receiving a lecture on etiquette, poise, and eloquence in a classroom at Laney College, a campus which I found much bigger than I had expected in my 13-year-old mind. At the time, I thought of myself as a really driven girl but it wasn't until I joined that Pageant that I found a direction in which to propel myself.

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Next Step to a Living Wage

by Laura Eberly, Community Organizer of YWCA San Francisco and Marin

Tell Your Assembly member you support the Opportunity to Work Act (AB 5) here!

Many of the young people served by our organizations hold part-time jobs, and there is growing public awareness that young people’s incomes are more likely to be essential to the household budget than just extra pocket money.

But too many are not getting the hours they need to make ends meet. New research from the UCLA Labor Center found up to 79% of young part-time workers in LA would take more hours if they could get them.

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Empowering Girls & Women with Real Talk

by Emily Frost, Founder of Love Your Nature

Take a moment to remember your teen years. Think back to your first sexual encounters. Remember your body, your environment, the people you were with. Paint the picture. What did it feel like? How do you feel now, trying to remember? 

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Promoting Change in the Film Industry

by Clarissa, Student Board Member at Camp Reel Stories

I’ve gone to Camp Reel Stories three times so far and plan on going for a fourth time this summer. It’s become a tradition of sorts to attend camp, make a film, and watch it spread throughout the country to various film festivals and onto people’s screens, whether those are found on their phones, on their computers, or in movie theaters. I cannot confidently say that I will go into the film industry when I grow older, but I can say that I have found a sense of community through the camp and gained inspiration from strong women, who prove everyday that they have what it takes to compete with men in a male dominated industry. 

Ten, twenty years ago, not many girls could have said they have such a large support system or find such inspiration from the women around them. Today, while we have strong female role models, when one compares the female to male ratio in the film, tech, sales, finance, culinary, mathematical, and political industry- to name a few, we females still fall far behind men. To not just know one strong female but a whole community of powerful women, whose shared goal is to change an industry, is incredibly important to me. To have a community and a group that helps me grow as a woman and as a filmmaker, to have a support system, and to feel like I’m a part of something innovative, something that is making an impact that grows every year, is something I’m very grateful for because change is important and change has been slowly increasing for years. I am confident that with help from Camp Reel Stories and other organizations promoting change and the support of minorities, I will see an industry that isn’t dominated by a single gender or ethnic group in my lifetime.

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The Red Web Foundation Visits the UN 

by Helynna Brooke, President of The Red Web Foundation

As a member of the Red Web Foundation, I attended the 61st United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) Forum in New York City March 12th to March 24th . The focus this year was "Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work." Nearly 6,000 women and a few men from around the world participated in UN activities, workshops, and panel presentations with the goal of learning and sharing strategies for achieving equality by 2030. 

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Helping Girls to Tend Their Inner Fire

by Sarai Shapiro, Founder & Director of Gaia Girls Passages

During our fall camping trip with our Rite of Passage group, the girls were sent on a group mission into the wilderness. They came back with dirt on their faces, mud between their toes, and a fire ignited within. The wild had opened something deep inside of them– something that yearns to be touched by us humans.

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The Taboo Of the Tip

by ERA Staff of Equal Rights Advocates. Originally published here.

Imagine getting paid $2.13 per hour.  This is the wage the federal government and most states allow employers to pay tipped workers.

On today’s national day of action to abolish the tipped minimum wage, ERA joins Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United and partners nationwide in demanding one fair wage for all workers.

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Disney's Moana Can Help You Tune In To Your Internal Voice

by Simone Marean, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Girls Leadership. Originally published here.

As I watched Moana with my son, I was so grateful that this was his Disney starting point. Mine was falling in love with Cinderella dropping her glass slipper, and waiting to be saved. He gets to watch a strong young woman save her people.

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March On With Girls Social Justice

by Helen Cordes, editor of the national print bimonthly New Moon Girls. Originally published here. They are currently collecting stories and experiences from girls who were at Women's Marches on January 21st.


Lili, 9: I chose that poster message because it shows how women are stronger when they are together than when they are apart. It also shows how strong their opinion is about women’s rights in a way that is non-violent.

I’m still flying high from the worldwide outpouring of female strength in the Women’s Marches. And girls—the thousands upon thousands who marched—are soaring even higher. At New Moon Girls, the feminist print magazine and online community made by and for girls—our members are BEYOND pumped, sharing proud reports from the front lines.


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Talking to White Girls about Racial Justice

by Lynn Johnson, Co-founder and CEO of Spotlight:Girls. Originally published here.

 

MLK Day is as good a time as any to talk to your daughter about racial justice.  This is a brief guide for all of you raising white girls to take center stage in a complex and unjust world.  

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Poor body image: The overlooked obstacle inhibiting the potential of our nation's young leaders

by Connie Sobczak, Co-Founder & Executive Director of The Body Positive. Originally published here. Connie will be leading a workshop for Alliance members on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 (info here).

"Let me tell you, this generation coming up—unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic—I’ve seen you in every corner of the country. You believe in a fair, and just, and inclusive America; you know that constant change has been America’s hallmark, that it’s not something to fear but something to embrace, you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward. You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result the future is in good hands."
—President Barak Obama, Farewell Speech, January 10, 2017


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Erasing the Power Gap: Changing the Leadership Game for Girls of Color

by Raye Mitchell, Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Women Lead Forward

In December 2016, the White House released the final progress report on ‘Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color.’ There are a lot of unknowns ahead with a new administration. A host of unknown intentions, dynamics, and undisclosed policies, and platforms, with and toward the notion of advancing equality for women and girls of color will test the system servicing the needs of young women and girls of color. However, we need not spend our time speculating on the new administration’s actions and intentions, because, now more than ever, it’s on us.

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Beautiful Project Youth Advisory Council

by Naomi Katz, Founder of Beautiful Project. Originally published here.

Announcing..Beautiful Project is now accepting applications for our
Youth Council! Open to women aged 15-25 who want to join a global community of young women who are inspired to create art and share it to empower themselves and others. Click here for more information and please, please share.  You can easily spread the word via the website, FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

The idea of the Youth Council came to me in part because I am inspired by the work of Aria Watson, an 18-year-old student in Oregon, who created the series #SignedByTrump, featuring photos of women who wear Trump's words on their naked bodies (including the photo above). Watson's work moves me because she is calling on us to pay attention, even more than we already are, by giving these horrific words a form - the female form. In doing so she, of course, further points out the toxic nature of these messages, and also - perhaps more importantly - takes a step toward making change by creating art. My teachers were right when they taught me that art calls the people to listen.


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Want to Raise a Rocket Scientist? 20 Holiday Gifts to Give Girls a Head Start

by Kara Sammet & Linda Kekelis. Originally published in the Huffington Post here.

If you’re like us, you’re on a mission to empower girls to be the leaders and creators of tomorrow, by encouraging them in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) today. STEM offers girls limitless opportunities to design and develop the technology we’ll all use in the future – whether we’re traveling to Mars or saving planet Earth. So, we’ve sought out fun holiday gift ideas that support girls’ creativity, confidence and leadership as they change the world through STEM.


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In the Name of Our Daughters

by Naomi Katz, Founder of Beautiful Project. Originally published here.

I had already written my piece to share as we basked in the afterglow of finally electing a woman president.  I was so sure we were ushering in a new time, I was so optimistic about the future for ourselves and our daughters, and now I have to pause.

I pause because we have to think again about how we will support ourselves and our girls in the aftermath of this election. I pause to really think about relations between men and women, and what Trump’s victory might mean for our youth.

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