Empowering Girls, Globally and Domestically
Each year, the international community celebrates the International Day of the Girl Child on October 11th. Too often, decisions kick global challenges down the road without the input of those that will be affected—our children. Recently, however, youth—and girls in particular—have been raising their voices to address some of the major crises of our time. From climate activist Greta Thunberg to gun control advocate and co-organizer of the March for our Lives, Emma Gonzales, girls are working to ensure that we live in a safer, healthier, more just world. This meeting is focusing on organizations and activists working to empower our next generation of women leaders by equipping girls with the skills, confidence, and tools to create a feminist future in the United States and around the globe. Speakers include:
Wendy Schaetzel Lesko, who helped mobilize U.S. support for the International Day of the Girl in 2011, will speak about the history of the movement to establish this annual event, the ways in which it is observed around the world, and how civil society and activists can work empower girls every day. Ms. Lesko founded the Youth Activism Project in 1992 with the publication of her book, No Kidding Around! America’s Young Activists Are Changing Our World & You Can Too. This project provides free advice to young people who want to pursue lasting change in the public policy arena and offers consulting services to organizations on how to support authentic youth-led advocacy and multi-generational collaboration. Ms. Lesko has presented over 1,000 keynote speeches and workshops in more than 30 states. In 2004, with a group of preteens, she launched School Girls Unite to promote collaboration amongst young women in Mali and the U.S. as philanthropists and political activists. School Girls Unite led the successful national campaign in 2011 to generate U.S. support for the newly established United Nations International Day of the Girl. Ms. Lesko worked for three years as a community organizer for the United Farm Workers Union after she graduated from Rollins College. In 1975, she returned to Washington, DC and became managing editor of the Congressional Monitor and then started “Today on the Hill,” a daily live broadcast on WTOP radio. She co-authored two books, The People Rising: The Campaign to Defeat the Bork Nomination with Michael Pertschuk and The Maternity Sourcebook with Matthew Lesko.
Lara S. Kaufmann, Director of Public Policy for Girls Inc., will discuss opportunities to advance girls’ rights and opportunities and empower girls to advocate for social change. Girls Inc. serves girls 6-18 at more than 1,500 sites in 350 cities across the U.S. and Canada who work help girls realize their full potential. Ms. Kaufmann directs #GirlsToo, the Girls Inc. national public awareness and advocacy campaign to prevent and address sexual harassment and sexual violence among youth. Prior to joining Girls Inc., Ms. Kaufmann was Senior Counsel and Director of Education Policy for At-Risk Students at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), where she engaged in litigation, advocacy, and outreach to improve educational outcomes for at-risk girls and young women. She co-authored NWLC’s 2014 report, Unlocking Opportunity for African American Girls: A Call to Action for Education Equity, its 2012 report, A Pregnancy Test for Schools: The Impact of Education Laws on Pregnant and Parenting Students, and its 2009 report, Listening to Latinas: Barriers to High School Graduation. Ms. Kaufmann also worked for the Federal Trade Commission, as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, a law firm, and a U.S. District Court. She has a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan.
Representatives from other organizations with feminist youth activities should come to share information.
CWI meetings are free and open to the public. Bring your own lunch.
Next CWI meeting, Noon Tuesday January 22, 2020. There will be no November meeting this year due to its proximity to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Check www.womensclearinghouse.org for meeting cancellations. The 11 Dupont Circle entrance is on New Hampshire Ave., across from the Dupont Plaza Hotel. Metro stop: Dupont; south exit.