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My Time at Tech Trek

by Catherine Zhou, student and alum of Tech Trek sponsored by AAUW San Francisco. 

To start off I would like to thank you and the rest of the San Francisco AAUW Branch for giving me this chance to attend the best camp ever! Even though I didn't get into Tech Trek at Stanford, I'm really lucky to have gotten in at all.

On the way to Fresno I was really nervous, I thought to myself did I bring too much stuff? Will I make any friends? Will anyone think I'm really weird? Will I be homesick? I was just so nervous! But when I got there I had a sigh of relief, everybody seemed nice and I don't think I was the only nervous one.

During dinner on the first day, I had already made a friend. Her name was Camille Ramos. That night we did fun activities and we had a dorm meeting. The beds were pretty comfortable so I had a good night sleep. The next morning we were allowed to get up earlier than usual. We had breakfast and then labs. During the labs, we did cyber security and coding. That was really fun because we got to learn how to decode passwords. After that, we went bowling I'm not so good at bowling but at least I can in seventh.

After lunch, I went to my core class which was Art in Math. On the first day, we made string art, on the second day we made fractals which triangles and on the last two days we made origami. On Thursday, we went to the zoo. By then, I had already made five great friends. Camille, Simi, MC, and Noor. At the Zoo, we got to see a lot of cool animals. We even got to feed the giraffes! When we can back everyone was to take a picture with the people from their city. I was surprised that there was only one other girl that came from San Francisco.







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No Elephant in the Room at Women's Tech Confab

by Roberta Guise, Founder and President of FemResources. A version of this article appeared in Women Who Code blog here.

The conference floor at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco transformed into a magnet to aspiring and future software engineers this past April. The mostly-women attendees had gathered for a day-long tech-fest of sharing, learning, and networking at the Women Who Code CONNECT 2017 conference.

As founder and president of Alliance member FemResources, a startup nonprofit to advance women’s careers in technology and engineering and move the needle towards gender equality in tech, I attended to glean deeper insights into the needs, wants and aspirations of women seeking a technical career. I also happened to be “citizen journalist” for the day.

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Hidden Figures: A Lesson in Speaking Up

by Anneka Fagundes, originally published in Girls Leadership's blog here.

If you’re planning to cozy up to the Academy Awards with a girl in your life this weekend, chances are you may have seen Hidden Figures, the uplifting biopic about three brilliant, belatedly-recognized African American mathematicians employed by the NASA space program in the Jim Crow South: Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine (Goble) Johnson, and Mary Jackson. With three Oscar nominations including Octavia Spencer’s nomination for Best Supporting Actress, the film is chock-full of lessons in leadership qualities every girl (and human) needs in today’s world – assertiveness, allyship, resiliency, and asking for what you need. If you’re looking for an inspirational jumping off point to talk to your girl about speaking up for herself and others, is an excellent conversation starter.

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A Grand Challenge: Reimagining Competitions for the Broader Benefit

by Linda Kekelis, a member of Alliance for Girls, and Simil Raghavan, originally published on the Huffington Post here.

 

Competitions leave some youth out in the cold, often those already underrepresented in STEM like girls and students of color. The Intel Science Talent Search reports that it’s cracked the gender gap (with more female finalists than males for the first time) but admits that it hasn’t been as successful engaging students of color and other underserved groups. The organizers are trying to change this by providing teachers a stipend to work with these students on research projects over the summer. FIRST has had a history of under-delivering to girls. Not only have fewer girls overall participated in FIRST Robotics, girls have also been more involved in marketing, fundraising, and making presentations than in the technical aspects of projects. While these experiences are valuable they don’t give girls the full range of opportunities to master tech and engineering skills. FIRST is working to address this and some groups have tackled this gender disparity by forming all-girls FIRST teams. For example, Girl Scouts launched its first FIRST team, Space Cookies, in 2006 in a partnership between the NASA Ames Research Center and the Girl Scouts of Northern California, and Space Cookies has continued and expanded to other councils with support from Girl Scouts of the USA.

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Power That Feeds the Soul

by Yonayda Rodas, Advocacy Intern at YWCA San Francisco & Marin and junior at San Rafael High School, originally published in their blog here.

A reflection on San Rafael’s May Day immigration rally.

On Monday, May 1st, I was fortunate enough to be able to march alongside my fellow immigrants. The energy around us was not one of hate and violence, despite all the shouting, but one of peace and serenity. With every shout and cheer from the crowd I felt more and more uplifted to keep on marching and the blazing sun wasn’t going to stop us. The red cards my fellow friends and I handed out stated the rights immigrants in this country have towards ICE and each card that was passed gave people more hope towards almost any situation they were facing. I was surrounded by hardworking and inspiring people who had dreams and goals in life and who were not willing to give up or to look back but to continue to move forward facing the obstacles that stood between them and their dreams. People of all different ages attended the march. Some were mothers who had come with children and others were teenagers like me who were curious about what they can do to stand up for what they believe is right. It didn’t matter how old you were or from what country you had migrated, we were all there for the same cause and that made me feel entirely whole. It can be argued that these types of marches do not do anything for the community but they are wrong because once an individual realizes that they do not stand alone, they will do all that it takes to get the rights that they deserve. I shall always remember this day as one of true significance and of power that feeds the soul. Visit our Action Center to call on your Assembly Member to support the California Values Act, SB 54. 

Emma Mayerson and Alliance for Girls - 2017 Gender Justice Honoree

by Equal Rights Advocates, originally published in their blog here.

Equal Rights Advocates proudly recognizes partner organization, Alliance for Girls (AFG), and its founding director, Emma Mayerson, as 2017 Gender Justice Honorees. This award is given each year to civil rights champions who have contributed to the movement for gender equality, and whose support and partnership have made ERA stronger.

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Creativity's Role in Impact Storytelling

by Rachel Dodd. Originally published in SoPact's blog here.

"I am a creative" - not a phrase I expected to declare at a conference - especially not at the top of my lungs. However, that's exactly what I did alongside a crowd of fellow creatives at the 5th annual Alliance for Girls conference (Together We Rise!). Prior to our encounter with Anasa Troutman, founder of eLOVEate, some of us never before dared assert our association with such a fluid - spiritual - magical - and intangible adjective as creative.

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Taking Back Our Names

by the Young Women's Freedom Center. Originally published in their blog here.

 

Our words can change the world. At YWFC [Young Women's Freedom Center] we are taking back the page, the stage, and the airwaves. Read, watch, and listen to our work on this blog. 

Nobody gets to tell us who we are, but they try all the time. Here are words of resistance from YWFC women: 

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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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