A Note From Our Director
This summer has been a scary one for women and girls. The Hobby Lobby decision calls our basic reproductive rights into question. The viral hashtag #jadapose exposes an online adolescent culture of extreme cyber-bullying. Statistics released by major tech companies such as Google, Twitter and Facebook show that women make up only 25% – 30% of their workforces.
This news feels, at times, overwhelming. Yet I am reminded of my personal hero Ella Baker, who believed that the best defense against systemic injustice is to invest in strong communities of leaders who will stand for what is right not only in times of crisis, but for generations to come.
This is what Alliance for Girls strives for. Through the active participation of its membership, Alliance for Girls can be a strong force to protect girls’ ability to follow their dreams without limitation. Even, and especially, in today’s climate.
At Alliance for Girls’ 2nd Annual Conference I was inspired by Alliance for Girls’ rapid growth. 160 leaders, serving well over 100,000 girls, convened to learn from one another, share best practices and connect. Together we are a force strong enough to counteract the winds of change that seem to be pushing us backward.
While Alliance for Girls' growth is essential to fulfilling our vision of being a strong voice for girls at decision-making tables, our priority continues to be in supporting the leadership of every member. Each member matters. Every idea counts. We need each other. My door is always open to supporting you in any way I can: through collaboration, research, education or advocacy support.
This month’s issue is focused on actionable opportunities to support local efforts. Thank you for strengthening Alliance for Girls!
IN THIS ISSUE
Thursday August 21
If you are interested in having your organization featured in our newsletter, please contact Kailin.
Major Momentum in Legislature Regarding
Backlog of Rape Kits
In January 2014 at the Women's Policy Summit, AB 1517, a bill that would reduce the backlog of untested rape kits, was showcased. Authored by Assembly Member Nancy Skinner and sponsored by the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley, and Natasha's Justice Project, the bill has since passed the Assembly with bipartisan support and was brought to the Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday
The problem of backlogged rape kits is common across America, including California. In Alameda County alone, there is a backlog of about 1,900 untested rape kits. This contributes to the overall problem in California where only 21% of all rapes result in an arrest. Reducing backlogs of rape kits would significantly increase arrest rates for rape, as was seen in New York in 2003 when they tested a backlog of 17,000 rape kits, resulting in a jump from 40% to 70% in the city's arrest rate for rape. AB 1517 provides specific timelines for processing rape kits and by requiring law enforcement agencies to notify a rape victim when a rape kit has not been tested and the statute of limitations is about to expire. All in all, the bill would help bring perpetrators to justice and bring peace of mind to victims.
To get involved, send a message using this sample letter to Governor Brown in support of AB 1517. The Haze play, an SF-based autobiographical story about how rape cases are handled, is opening on Saturday, September 6th. Also, check out the editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle written by Assembly Member Skinner and District Attorney Nancy O'Malley.
Sources: California Center for Research on Women & Families, San Francisco Chronicle, Office of Assembly Member Nancy Skinner
Affordable Birth Control Coverage
As reported by ACLU Northern California, tomorrow, the California Assembly Appropriations Committee will vote on Senate Bill 1053, a bill that would help address the inconsistency in implementing the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) rule on covering contraception, requiring health insurance carriers to cover all methods of contraception approved by the FDA without cost sharing. SB 1053 would build on existing legislation to remove any restrictions on access to contraception.
Despite the coverage rule having gone into effect two years ago, women, low-income women in particular, are still facing barriers to accessing contraception. This is attributed to the lack of clarity in the legislation, which has led to inadequate implementation. Many health insurance carriers still fail to provide coverage for all-FDA approved contraceptive methods. In some cases, carriers are requiring women to try certain methods first rather than allowing them to choose their method in consultation with their doctors.
Building a Strong Investing Foundation
Thursday August 21 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Charles Schwab Post Street Branch
100 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94108
Now is the time to start investing! Anyone can invest, and the sooner you start the better. Join us to learn terms and concepts to help young women invest strategically, and easily. You’ll learn how to teach them about the building blocks of a “diversified portfolio” and how to help them move from saving to investing. It’s not just an action—it’s a mindset!
This event is free to all registrants. Reserve your spot today.
Girls Incorporated of Alameda County’s ® (Girls Inc.) mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Since 1958, Girls Inc. has responded to the unique needs of girls in the most underserved communities of the San Francisco Bay Area’s East Bay through a continuum (K-12) of academic enrichment programs and counseling services. Programs are designed to be intentional and compensatory so girls learn to be strong through healthy living, smart through education, and bold through independence. In programs girls challenge themselves to explore their potential, develop life skills, ensure college and career success, and expand their sense of what is possible.
Last summer Girls Inc. opened the Simpson Center for Girls located at 510 16th Street in downtown Oakland. The Simpson Center for Girls provides a home for their continuum of academic achievement, health and wellness programming, and mental health services, as well as the region’s first and only resource center for girls. The downtown Oakland location provides greater accessibility - including by way of public transportation - for girls, youth, families, and partner organizations to Girls Inc. resources and expertise in girls and mental health. Girls Inc. hopes that the Simpson Center will not only provide a strong foundation for the organization to expand services towards more girls and families, but also function as an epicenter of other youth development-focused events and programs for the region.
Girls Inc. is open to collaborating with a range of girl-serving organizations. They are particularly interested in collaborating with other groups focused on preparing and transitioning teens for college success. Girls Inc. is committed to providing comprehensive college preparation and academic achievement activities for girls in under-resourced communities with critical support services. They currently provide a range of programs for girls in high school and are looking to collaborate to enhance these services.
Welcome New Member
We've updated the Resources page with studies referenced in the 2nd Annual Conference. Under Past Events, you'll find the Executive Summary of the conference, program, and roster of attendees. Resources from the Financial Literacy workshop in July are posted there as well.
Alliance for Girls champions the leaders and voices that support young women and girls.