Issue 8 - November 2014


Girls in Juvenile Justice & More

Issue 8

November 4, 2014

In This Issue...

Note from the Director
Advocacy Update
Member Spotlight
The World of Girls

   Recently Signed Bills that
      Affect Girls & Women
   "Femvertising" -ProFemale

 #GamerGate: A Campaign
        to Silence Female
Gamers Who Speak Out

Abortion Restrictions & Its
        Affects on Women's &
Children's Health


  Girls & AP Computer
              Science Exams
        Addressing Tech's
"Women Problem"

 For Members 

We've updated the Resources page with two reports about sexual safety and stress harassment:

(1) Coercive Sexual Environments: What MTO Tells Us About Neighborhoods and Sexual Safety, produced by the Urban Institute and Stanford University

(2) Street Harassment: Know Your Rights
presented by TrustLaw of the Thomas Reuters Foundation.

Check them out!

Also, members can now submit events to Alliance for Girls' online Events Calendar after logging in.

To access members-only pages or register for events, please sign in using your log-in information:

Username: ##username##
Password: ##password## 

Interested in being the next Member Spotlight? 

Contact Kailin Chou:

Alliance Events

Wednesday, November 19
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Major Gifts Discussion: Best Practices and Obstacles
led by Emily Wirowek, Pat 
      Loomes & Kirsten Melton
Girls Inc. of Alameda County
510 16th Street
Oakland, CA 94612

Wednesday, December 10
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
How We Talk About the Menstrual Cycle With Our Girls

led by Helynna Brooke &
      Elizabeth Gould
San Francisco Mental Health Education Funds
1380 Howard Street
2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

Thursday, January 22               9:30 am - 12:30 pm                   What Does It Mean to Be A Girl: A Discussion On Gender and Gender-Responsive Services                led by the One Circle

Location TBD

Community Events 

Wednesday, November 5 &
Thursday, November 6
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Girls Circle Facilitator Training
hosted by One Circle Foundation
600 Townsend Street
Suite 110W
San Francisco, CA 94103

Thursday, November 6
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
The Clayman Institute 40th Anniversary Celebration
Bechtel International Center
584 Capistrano Way
Stanford, CA 94305

Thursday, November 6
5:00 - 8:00 PM
AAUWSF Networking Social
The House of Shields,
Mezzanine Level
39 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

Thursday, November 6
6:00 - 9:00 PM
SHINE! An Evening of Inspiring Women & Girls
hosted by Oasis For Girls
Twitter Headquarters
1355 Market Street, 9th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

Thursday, November 6
7:00 PM
hosted by Camp Reel Stories
Humanist Hall
390 27th Street
Oakland, CA 94612

Tuesday, November 18
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Webinar - Motivating Millenials: How to Activate Young People to Take Action for Your Cause
by the Foundation Center

Friday, November 21
6:30 - 9:00 PM (Gala)
Saturday, November 22
8:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Silicon Valley Tech for Schools Summit 2014
Computer History Museum
1401 N. Shoreline Boulevard
Mountain View, CA 94043

Saturday, December 6
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
7th Annual Young Women & Money Conference
hosted by YWCA Berkeley/Oakland
Oakland Marriott City Center
1001 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94607

Events For Girls

Saturday, November 8
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Global Leadership Training Course: Giving Hope to Kids Like Me
hosted by G.U.R.L.S. Lead Global Leadership Program
UFCW 5 San Jose Labor Union Hall
230 S. Market Street
San Jose, CA 95112

Sunday, December 7
3:00 PM
Celebrating Rites of Passage's 20th Anniversary - "It Takes A Village"
by Dimension Dance Theater
Phillip Reeder Performing Arts Center
8601 MacArthur Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94605

We'd like to post more events that girls can attend. Please help us by submitting your events to


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Note from the Director

Dear Friends,

This month, Alliance for Girls was proud to represent its members on the national and local stage. Nationally, Alliance for Girls was invited to present at the Building A Network: Girls Alliance Roundtable national summit, hosted by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s National Girls Initiative (please find more information about the summit here). Locally, Alliance for Girls presented on the Bay Area girls’ service sector to the Whittier Trust, a private wealth management firm that manages and consults on more than $8 billion in assets for families.

At both events, AFG presented on the strengths of its membership and the diverse strategies and communities its members represent, including holistic girls empowerment programs like Girls to Women in East Palo Alto, media literacy programs like About-Face in San Francisco, and dance programs like Dimensions Dance Theater in Oakland. Together with its members, Alliance for Girls is weaving a strong, vibrant tapestry of girls’ services that can catch girls before they fall and lift them toward the bright futures they deserve.

It is my honor and privilege to serve as your representative in these contexts, and to bring the extraordinary work of Alliance for Girls’ members to the forefront of these conversations.


Emma Mayerson
Director of Alliance for Girls

Advocacy Update

Participants at the National Girls Initiative Conference

Alliance for Girls Attends a National Summit on Eliminating the School to Prison Pipeline for Girls

Girls, particularly girls of color, are the fastest growing population of the juvenile justice system. The majority of these girls are incarcerated for non-violent, low-risk behaviors including running away from home, technical violations of probation or prostitution (child sex trafficking). In addition, 92% of incarcerated girls have experienced one or more forms of physical or sexual abuse. 45% have been burned or beaten and 40% have been raped. These girls need support, not incarceration. 

In mid-October, Alliance for Girls was invited to Building a Network: Girls Alliance Roundtable, a national summit on girls and the juvenile justice system, hosted by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's (OJJDP) National Girls Initiative. At the summit, OJJDP acknowledged girls' increasing incarceration rates as a crisis, and asked for community partnership and thought leadership in developing solutions.

Participants represented different regions, including California, Iowa and Oregon, and different strategies, including juvenile justice researchers, direct service providers and girls’ coalitions such as the Iowa Task Force for Young Women, the Justice for Girls Coalition (Washington State), the Coalition of Advocates for Equal Access for Girls (Oregon), and the Girls Justice League (Philadelphia).

Girls' coalitions and alliances were invited to present to conference attendees. Representing the Alliance and its members, Alliance for Girls' (AFG) Director Emma Mayerson spoke to the critical need for communities with girls' services interwoven into their fabric, creating a safety net strong enough to catch girls before they fall. Emma explained how AFG addresses this need: by working to make girls' services more connected, more effective and better able to raise a strong, unified voice on behalf of girls. AFG is a growing movement of 65 Bay Area organizations serving over 130,000 girls. Together with its membership, AFG is eliminating barriers and empowering girls to achieve the bright futures they deserve. 

The conference emphasized the importance of supporting girls in the totality of their lives, which includes making gender and culturally responsive services the norm rather than the exception. Alliance for Girls was honored to be recognized by OJJDP as a key advocate for girls, and is happy to be working alongside other girls’ coalitions, thought leaders and service providers to eliminate the "school to prison pipeline" for girls. 


Member Spotlight: G.U.R.L.S. Lead Global Leadership Program

Helen Kassa with Dr. Raye Mitchell, founder of G.U.R.L.S. Lead

Writer. Public speaker. Humanitarian. Social entrepreneur. Mentor. Leader. These are just some of the words that describe Dr. Raye Mitchell, founder of the G.U.R.L.S. (Growth, Unity, Respect, Leadership, and Success) Lead Global Leadership Program, which provides training and support for African American girls ages 12 and up to become the next generation of leaders and social entrepreneurs. Dr. Mitchell is developing a growing network of millennial leaders who are well-equipped and eager to make the world a better place. Through the G.U.R.L.S. Lead model, she supports girls by being both an advisor and mentor, providing high-level executive leadership training led by herself or other leaders, and encouraging girls to be the architects of their own learning.

One of the most effective components of the G.U.R.L.S. Lead model is connecting girls to inspiring leaders who work closely with them and act as role models. For instance, one of the G.U.R.L.S. Lead mentors, Issa Rae, a writer for HBO and woman behind the web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, inspired 15-year-old Helen Kassa, a millenial leader and recipient of the G.U.R.L.S. Lead Global Game Changer Award, to follow in her footsteps and make a mark on the world. Helen was moved by Issa, who encouraged girls to step out of the norm and not be afraid of dreaming big. Born in San Jose to Ethiopian parents, Helen founded the Giving Hope to Kids Like Me Foundation when she was only eight years old after visiting Ethiopia for the first time and seeing the dearth of educational opportunities for kids her age. Over the years through independent efforts, she raised enough funds to take subsequent trips back, offering merit-based scholarships, materials, and even paying for the construction of a science lab. Dr. Mitchell has worked closely with Helen to advance her vision and implement more fundraising and awareness programs, and she has now raised over $60,000 in donations and pledges to begin work on her most expansive programs ever. Helen has leveraged this success to create Girls Lead Forward, a collaborative program of G.U.R.L.S. Lead and the Giving Hope to Kids Like Me Foundation that focuses on increasing gender equality, access to educational opportunity, and global volunteerism by training girls to be effective global leaders.

“This is the power of role models, of mentors, and of girls’ imaginations when given the chance,” explained Dr. Mitchell about the success of her girls after, and through, the G.U.R.L.S. Lead program.

On Saturday, November 8th, G.U.R.L.S. Lead is sponsoring a free leadership training in San Jose for girls ages 12 and over. Hosted by Helen, the training will provide leadership tools to girls with the hope of recruiting a few to join her leadership team and travel to Ethiopia to support the mission of her foundation. See Events for Girls to the left for more information

Collaborate with G.U.R.L.S. Lead!

Dr. Raye Mitchell is an avid believer of collaborating across all sectors. She would like to invite Alliance members to collaborate on co-branding events where she and other groups can bring their girls together under one roof. She would also like to work jointly with others on grants to amplify the voices of girls and girls’ services, and generate high-visibility, high-profile work. Raye is working on a major project that will be of interest to the Alliance community and looks forward to hosting a release and information reception whereby Alliance members can come and learn more. As Raye asserts, “I want to create a moment for not just G.U.R.L.S. Lead, but also Alliance for Girls where we can draw a national movement.”

The World of Girls

This section provides links to summaries of relevant current events and research from this past month.

Recently Signed Bills that Affect Girls & Women

At the end of September, Governor Brown signed dozens of bills into law, many of which affect girls and women by addressing sexual assault, human trafficking, forced sterilization in prisons, as well as privacy and image distribution. These include:

Sexual Assault

  • AB 1517: More commonly known as the rapekit backlogs bill, AB 1517 sets clear timelines for law enforcement and medical facilities to test rape kits.
  • SB 838: Also known as "Audrie's Law," the bill increases penalties while decreasing privacy protections for teens convicted of performing sex acts on someone who is passed out from drugs or alcohol, or incapable of giving consent due to a disability.
  • SB 926: Under current law, victims of childhood sex abuse have until they turn 28 to press charges. The bill extends that to age 40.
  • SB 967: This bill sets California as the first state to make affirmative consent, or a “yes means yes” standard, law. It is supported by the University of California and California State University systems. The Nation, meanwhile, poses some questions about the implementation of the law.

Privacy & the Distribution of Images

  • SB 1255 & AB 2643: Both bills address privacy and the unlawful distribution of photos (including “selfies”) without consent. SB 1255 makes it a crime to post private naked photos or videos of someone without his or her consent and AB 2643 makes the crime liable for penalties.

Forced Sterilization

  • SB 1135: The bill bans forced sterilizations of inmates, which has been occurring inconspicuously in some prisons. For more context, read this article.

Human Trafficking

  • SB 1165: Students in California will be required to receive human trafficking and abuse prevention education. Governor Brown also signed 6 other bills aimed at improving prosecution of human trafficking as a crime. Read more about it here.

"Femvertising" - Pro-Female Advertising

A recent poll covered by an AdWeek 2014 panel positively supports “Femvertising,” or pro-female messaging in advertising. Conducted by SheKnows, a women’s lifestyle website, the poll asked 628 women for their thoughts on femvertising and how it shaped their purchasing choices. 91% of respondents believe how women are portrayed in advertising has a direct impact on girls’ self-esteem and 71% think brands should be responsible for using advertising to promote positive messages to women and girls. With 52% of respondents confirming they had purchased a product because they liked the way women were portrayed in ads, there is increasing pressure on brands to adopt femvertising. Read the full article at the Huffington Post. 

#GamerGate: A Campaign to Silence Female Gamers Who Speak Out

A growing form of online harassment from a segment of the gaming community (i.e. participants of the video and computer game industry) targeted at female gamers has reached new heights in the last month, including acts of terrorism. #GamerGate, a campaign that - its proponents claim - was founded to promote ethics in gaming journalism, has become synonymous with online harassment and silencing, including violent threats directed at female gamers who speak out against the misogynistic way women are portrayed in games. This violent trend is impacting girls across the globe: 29% of gamers are under age 18, and females make up 48% of gamersRead more from the Washington Post and check out Hack Education’s take on why educators need to pay attention.

Abortion Restrictions & Its Affect on Women's & Children's Health

The Center for Reproductive Rights and Ibis Reproductive Health published a report titled Evaluating Priorities: Measuring Women’s and Children’s Health and Well-Being Against Abortion Restrictions in the States, finding that states with the most abortion restrictions also perform the worst on women and children’s health and well-being standards. In addition, the University of California, San Francisco, is currently conducting comprehensive research on the impact of denying access to abortion services. Titled the Turnaway Studyrecent findings suggest that denying access to abortion makes it more difficult to escape domestic violence. Read Feministing’s post for more details on the "Turnaway Study."


Girls & AP Computer Science Exams

Georgia Tech’s Barbara Ericson gathered data on the results of 2013’s AP Computer Science Exams, revealing that not much has changed, particularly around race and gender. According to her findings, not a single female student took the exam in Mississippi, Montana or Wyoming. For other states, the percentage of test takers who were female ranged from 3.88% in Utah to 29% in Tennessee. Eleven states had no African American students take the exam, and eight states had no Latino/a students take the exam. Read her blog post and access her spreadsheet here.

Addressing Tech’s “Women Problem”

Medium recently published a comprehensive article on the pervasiveness of sexism in tech culture and solutions to the problem. It highlights Harvey Mudd College and Etsy as “shining examples” of groups actively working against the social dynamics that permeate the tech industry. Read the full article.

Did we miss something? Email

Alliance for Girls
510 16th Street, Suite 100
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510.629.9464 | Fax: 510.318.5399