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August 20th, 2019— Oakland, CA—On August 20th, 2019 Alliance for Girls launched their latest report, Together, We Rise: The Lived Experiences of Girls of Color in Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose. This report was produced to inform the San Francisco Bay Area work of the National Philanthropic Collaborative of Young Women’s Initiatives, and in partnership with the Women’s Foundation of California.
“The powerful first-hand stories from the girls featured in this report underscore how important it is to invest in the lives of young women, especially those of color, in order to create a just and equitable California,” said Surina Khan, CEO of the Women’s Foundation of California. “Listening to their dreams and their struggles is the first step towards empowering them to disrupt the cycle of poverty, violence, and disinvestment.”
Together, We Rise is a girl-led report involving leadership from Alliance for Girls’ (AFG) Young Women’s Leadership Board. In several listening sessions across the Bay Area, girls of color identified the ways structural and systemic barriers impact their identities, producing data that exemplifies existing research themes found in previous AFG reports, with samples totaling over 250 girl-identified youth. From childhood, girls are told about the limit of their worth through the perpetuation of gendered stereotypes and structural violence, in the shape of inequitable pay.
For example, when it comes to income, women still only make 81 cents to every dollar a white man makes, with Black women making only 60 cents to every dollar. This is further exacerbated in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the wealth gap is one of the greatest in the nation. In the report, girls talked about how they saw and felt the devaluing of women through unequal pay by making a direct connection to how this impacts their lives and the lives of their mothers. A girl living in San Francisco shared: “My mom’s work—she works a lot, a lot, and I never have time to be with her—but she needs to work because she wants to do everything for me—food, rent. She works so hard so I can have a good life.” Interestingly, the girls interviewed for Together, We Rise commonly defined poverty as a barrier to spending time with loved ones.
Stereotypes further perpetuate and limit the value of girls. Girls are being limited in potential earnings by being pushed to uphold traditional female roles in the home, instead of engaging with school work. One girl interviewed stated that, when she was doing schoolwork, her uncle asked, “Why is she doing homework when she should cook?” Another said her father similarly asked, “Why is she doing homework when she should be doing makeup?”
The perpetuation of gender stereotypes coupled with inequitable pay and severe wealth gaps in the Bay Area set the stage for the perpetuation of the cycle of poverty for girls and their families. Together, We Rise is part of a greater effort being led by Alliance for Girls and the Women’s Foundation of California to galvanize a movement for equity in California and across the nation that will change the future for girls.
“For decades the San Francisco Bay Area has served as a leader in innovation and disruption for the nation – from the civil rights movement to the first Apple computer,” said Emma Mayerson, Founding Executive Director for Alliance for Girls. “Now is the time for the Bay Area to become a leader for the nation in disrupting cycles of poverty by investing in girls of color through policy change, funding and powerful programming.”
How you can support:
- Download a free copy of the report.
- Attend Alliance for Girls 6th Annual Conference, A Movement for Equity.
- Attend an upcoming workshop or Town Hall Meeting to build a Girls Policy Agenda.
About Alliance for Girls
Since 2012, Alliance for Girls (AFG) has transformed a siloed girls’ service sector into an alliance with the necessary collective power to change the world. AFG is the nation’s largest alliance of girl-serving organizations, including over 100 nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and schools serving more than 300,000 girls and gender-expansive youth in the San Francisco Bay Area. AFG members employ over 2,400 people, have over 6,000 dedicated volunteers, and collect over $200 million economic revenue annually. Alliance for Girls mobilizes girls’ advocates and educators to address barriers facing girls, create conditions for their success, and advance systemic change to achieve equity. We believe that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution.