The Importance of Girls-Only Programs

Annaby Anna Sturino
Director of Operations

We hear it everywhere, from the United Nations to the everyday after school program – when we support the growth and empowerment of girls and young women, we raise the quality of life for everyone. When women lead they not only lead businesses, they lead in their community, they fight for their children, and they give voice to issues that are important to our collective future like education, and health care.

In a world where gender expectations still play a significant role in defining young people’s lives and their aspirations for the future, girls only groups/programs are crucial to the healthy development and growth of young women. Girls only programs help girls build their sense of self and develop confidence by offering them opportunities to express themselves, be heard, and explore their world in a safe environment. Investing energy and resources into girls is not a fruitless endeavor. Educating and empowering girls ripples out into the community and benefits everyone.

Girls who are DSC_3027 (800x514)engaged in positive, female only programs, are more likely to complete school, attend college, serve their communities, and reach their potential for future success than their peers who engage in risky behaviour.

Programs for young women provide a safe and healthy environment for girls to grow as individuals and build the self-confidence and skills necessary for them to succeed in their future endeavors.  Most of these programs are run by women and teach about other women, giving girls female role models. Mentoring also provides a community of women, both peers and mentors, with whom girls can engage and build connections regarding future goals.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation has published reports on the need for girls only programs: over 50%Girls rock climbing of all girls say they wish they were someone else: 9 out of 10 girls say they feel pressure from the media to be thin: 50% of girls in grade 6 are on a diet: 36% of girls in grade 6 say they are self-confident and 14% of girls in grade 10 say they are self-confident.   These facts show us how important it is to provide girls only programs.

Other reasons to provide and support girls’ only programs are:

  • Boys and girls have different needs and interests
  • Boys and girls behave differently, and girls often find boys’ behaviors to be disruptive
  • Girls are more likely to be themselves in front of girls
  • Girls are especially reluctant to discuss certain topics in front of boys ( e.g. sexuality, eating disorders, self-esteem , body image)
  • Girls worry less about their appearance in front of other girls
  • Girls worry less about being teased/bullied in front of other girls
  • Female only groups help girls feel strong and special
  • Female role models show girls they can be smart and powerful
  • Girls find girls only groups to be more positive and fun

(Canadian Women’s Foundation)

Female only programs create safe spaces where girls can be themselves, develop resilience, demonstrate their strengths, and learn to treat other women with respect. These programs give girls opportunities to discover commonalities and celebrate differences, while learning to express themselves in a positive manner and explore their world in safe environment.

St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club has a strong belief in the positive impact girls’ only programs can have on their participants and we currently offer programs like: Girls on the Move, Sistahood, Sole Sisters, and Girls on the Move summer day camps. We know that investing in girls and young women today, will lead to a positive outcome for our future generations.

Power of the PurseAs an organization that prides itself on building on its existing programs, we are hosting our second Power of the Purse Fundraiser on Tuesday April 5th, 2016, from 6pm to 9pm at 99 Sudbury. The funds from the Power of the Purse event will go towards the enhancement and development of our girls only programs.

To buy your tickets visit our Eventbrite page.

IMG_1383We would be so honored to have you support our young women’s programs. Your contribution exemplifies how important it is to give back to the community and to support the development of  young women and what an impact we can have on their future when we invest in their skills and passions.