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Women’s History Month: Girls Inc. of the Valley is Fueling the Strength in Every Girl

By March 2, 2020No Comments

In preparation for Women’s History Month, Girls Inc. of the Valley is embarking on a month-long media tour to educate the public on the future of our Western Mass girls.

Women’s History Month in the United States had its origins as a week-long local celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society organized by the school district of Sonoma, California. It grew into a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.” Led by the National Women’s history Project, an alliance of women’s groups and historians successfully petitioned Congress and Pub. L. 100-9 was passed, designating March as “Women’s History Month.”

Centered around women’s education and women’s empowerment, the focus of Women’s History Month is to encourage women to develop and use their voices, positive self-image, and intellectual confidence. Women’s History Month celebrates women’s contributions to history, culture and society, honoring pioneering teachers and advocates who helped women and other groups gain access to advanced learning, and helping to erase the inequities that prevent girls from reaching their full potential as successful adults and leaders. Women’s History Month in the United States grew out of a weeklong celebration of women’s contributions to culture, history and society organized by the school district of Sonoma, California.

The work at Girls Inc. of the Valley embodies the spirit of Women’s History Month, and recent news coming from the organization is nothing short of amazing. Recently, the nonprofit headquartered in Holyoke, MA, released a rigorous comparative study by the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The study found that Girls Inc. girls have an advantage over their peers in more than 20 key areas. The findings demonstrate that girls not only thrive at Girls Inc., they are also more likely than other girls to see themselves as leaders, with the skills and capabilities of influencing and improving their local communities. These partnerships will help Girls Inc. of the Valley to expand their program offerings and create a stronger network that encourages girls to achieve.

Additionally, Girls Inc. of the Valley has announced a major gift from a community organization. PeoplesBank has granted Girls Inc. of the Valley $75,000 to Her Future, Our Future, a comprehensive campaign set to launch this fall.

While there are more women today in key leadership positions than ever before, there is still a pervasive gender gap in top leadership. The need for qualified science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals in our workforce continues to grow and women – particularly women of color – continue to be underrepresented in these fields. At the heart of Girls Inc. of the Valley is a comprehensive approach to whole girl development that equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. The Her Future, Our Future comprehensive campaign is a bold initiative designed to significantly move the needle on generational changes and providing tangible opportunities for girls of the Valley to achieve academic and personal success. Leadership development is woven throughout every girl’s experience, regardless of age or curriculum.

“Women’s History Month is the perfect time to highlight our work,” said Suzanne Parker, Executive Director of Girls Inc. of the Valley. “When girls have opportunities to reach their full potential through leadership roles, not only do they change their own local communities, they change the world. And I look forward to helping spread that word!”

Upon completion of the campaign, Girls Inc. of the Valley will serve more than 1,000 girls per year – nearly 5% of the combined female population of the Holyoke, Chicopee and Springfield public school systems. Girls Inc. of the Valley will be positioned to advance the right policy initiatives, structures, and best practices to address the unique challenges that await girls, equipping them with the skills and tools to achieve their goals and take charge of their futures. Plenty of work remains to erase the inequities that prevent girls from reaching their full potential as successful adults and leaders. By focusing on proven strategies and effective advocacy, organizations like Girls Inc. of the Valley will play a crucial role in shaping whether and how our society rises to that challenge in the coming decade. They will be able to provide more girls with fundamental support and research-based programming designed to empower girls and provide opportunities to navigate barriers they face in school and beyond.