Girls voted on the theme of Girls Inc. Week 2021, selecting comprehensive sex education as the topic we are bringing awareness to this year.
Girls Inc. Week is a special time for our organization as we celebrate girls, staff, and our network. It is also a moment to engage our supporters and followers in conversation around topics that are important to girls. During our She Votes mock election in November 2020, girls selected access to comprehensive sex education as the Girls Inc. Week theme for 2021.
During the week (May 3-7), we are highlighting the importance of comprehensive sexual education, dispelling myths, and celebrating how girls and Girls Inc. staff are advocating on the subject in their schools, peer groups, and communities.
Why focus on comprehensive sexuality education?
Young people want knowledge and skills to make healthy choices for themselves. Yet far too many of them do not have access to comprehensive sexual education. Girls Inc. believes that girls deserve the information and resources they need to take control of their sexual health, which in turn allows them to exercise more control over their lives— including their education, relationships, careers, and overall economic security.
We believe girls have the right to accept, appreciate, and enjoy their bodies. Sexuality is a natural part of young people’s emotional and social development. At every stage of their development, all girls should have access to age-appropriate information about the physical, psychological, and social aspects of sexuality.
Spotlighting our affiliates
We are proud to highlight the work our Girls Inc. affiliates across the U.S. and Canada are doing with and on behalf of girls in the area of healthy sexuality.
Teen Leaders of Girls Inc. of Santa Fe
We celebrate the girls on the Teen Leadership Council of Girls Inc. of Santa Fe – Meghan Kaschner, Lila Quezada, Jericha Romero, Levee Martinez, Indira Tho-Biaz Wilder, Ashlyn Tenorio, Ruby Reyes-Tapia, and Isabella Vermooten – who are taking action around affirmative consent, lobbying support for a bill in their state legislature that would mandate teaching affirmative consent during the required health unit in Santa Fe Public Schools.
The young women mobilized to create a draft of talking points for the bill, bringing their perspective as high school teens to the forefront of the conversation. They contacted and met with legislators to promote the bill, provided testimony in committee hearings, and hosted a virtual panel attended by members of the public and legislators to share their experiences of learning about consent at Girls Inc.
Along the way, the teens have been incredibly supportive of each other, practicing their testimonies together and listening in as their peers testified or following along in a group text chain. Watch the video the teens created about affirmative consent to help raise awareness among their peers and local community.
We are so proud of the activism of the Teen Leadership Council of Girls Inc. of Santa Fe! Well done, young leaders!
Girls Inc. of Lynn
Kudos to this affiliate out of Massachusetts, working with their school districts to get the Girl Inc. Healthy Sexuality programming approved and shared with girls in schools. Girls have also taken action around safe sex initiatives by conducting a series of condom distributions in school. A few years ago, the affiliate also spearheaded a “traveling mobile classroom,” providing information around sex education to young people in the community.
Thank you for leading the way with the Girls Inc. Healthy Sexuality program, built on comprehensive sex ed and embracing many values widely accepted in our society. You are helping girls acquire the knowledge to take charge of and make informed, thoughtful decisions about their sexual health.
Girls Inc. of Orange County
Over the past several years Girls Inc. of Orange County has led a team of local advocates (youth and adult) to speak out for inclusive and comprehensive sex education. One of the catalysts was a Girls Inc. of Orange County girl who shared that her school classroom provided sex ed, but in a censored, limited way that made her feel shame and guilt about her sexuality. Girls Inc. peers and mentors helped support the young woman who says, “Girls Inc. allowed me to be myself and gave me the bravery to say, ‘Yes, I am questioning my sexuality and I’m still proud.’”
Girls Inc. of Orange County girls have written letters to elected officials, attended rallies, and addressed the community at their own Teen Town Hall event. They have also taken their work into school, developing a presentation that would be delivered to students about how comprehensive inclusive sex ed can help rid the country of toxic masculinity.
Girls and staff of Girls Inc. of Orange County, thank you for upholding a girl’s right to learn and sending the message that raising the subject of sexuality is not taboo.
Lauren of Girls Inc. of San Antonio
We celebrate Girls Inc. of San Antonio and the girl-led Taking Action project from young leader Lauren who created an advocacy project around sex harassment and violence. This involved developing a peer survey, researching what schools in her districts were doing and not doing in response to the issue, and testifying in front of her state board of education with her findings and recommendations. Learn more and hear directly from Lauren during a recent panel discussion with Supermajority co-founder Cecile Richards (minute marker 27:30).
Lauren, thank you for all you are doing to advocate for young people and their safety from sexual harassment and violence in schools.
Girls Inc. of Durham
We applaud this Ontario affiliate for their partnership with public libraries in the town of Ajax. Girls aged 13 to 18 interested in exploring topics surrounding relationships, sexual health education, and consent were able to access Girls Inc Healthy Sexuality programming because of this work.
Most youth and parents say girls need more comprehensive information relevant to their lives. Girls Inc. of Durham, thank you for answering the call.
Girls Inc. of Omaha
Several years ago, Girls Inc. of Omaha began advocating with girls for improvements to the sex ed curriculum in their schools. The work was a huge success and accelerated the development of the Girls Inc. Healthy Sexuality programming, benefiting girls across our entire network.
Thank you for supporting girls in understanding sexuality with a positive, empowered approach built on accurate information, cultural sensitivity, inclusiveness, and respect.
Girls Inc. of Worcester
The Worcester School Committee recently voted on whether or not to incorporate a new, comprehensive sex ed curriculum for middle and high school students, which would encourage parent engagement and provide resources to train teachers. For the past three years, the school district has lacked sex education curriculum, so the vote was a critical one to the Worcester community.
Girls Inc. of Worcester released a statement for the measure and advocated to school committee members in support of the curriculum. They called school committee members, sent them letters in support of the curriculum, and called on their network via social media to advocate as well. When the votes were tallied, the committee had voted in favor of comprehensive sex ed!
Thank you for showing us advocacy in action, Girls Inc. of Worcester!
Follow along with Girls Inc. Week on social media using #GirlsIncWeek and learn more about the Girls Inc. Healthy Sexuality programming by clicking here.