Chatham to begin chapter of Strong Women, Strong Girls

In Maine last year, a group of 14 year old girls made history when they petitioned Seventeen to eliminate photoshop editing. Accepting the criticism, the magazine agreed. Seventeen is now photoshop free, and teen girls see real women in every photo.

Working towards positive social change in Pittsburgh, Chatham is creating a new chapter of Strong Women, Strong Girls. Strong Women, Strong Girls pairs college women with elementary school age girls through an afterschool mentoring program.

Strong Women, Strong Girls is a national organization committed to providing young girls with the resources to understand and change the social roles of women. The organization’s website contains various blogs and articles about strong female role models and women’s issues. They even have a blog called “Strong Female Fridays.”

Various organizations are getting involved as well. Chatham volunteers will be working with the Girl Scouts organization throughout schools. Through various activities, the main goal of this club is to find out what young girls want. Once that is determined, an act toward social change becomes the new goal. In order to challenge women’s roles in a positive way, the mentor-student relationship allows the girls to be themselves without feeling vulnerable.

A key aspect of Strong Women, Strong Girls is having college women mentor young women. The organization provides a role model for the girls and relies on that relationship to provide a sense of empowerment for the girls. It also encourages education through these relationships.

That is why Sophomore Kelley Connell wants to be a part of the organization. “I want to be involved in Strong Women, Strong Girls because of the support network it will provide for [young girls],” she said.

Last year, the organization mentored 400 girls with 110 mentors from Carlow University, Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, Point Park University, and the University of Pittsburgh. It is also a member of the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development network.

Often, skill-building activities are used to examine female role models. An organization called Girls Coalition will supply the club with a curriculum filled with activities.

The Girls Coalition works with various female empowering organizations. Hardy Girls is another program geared toward middle school aged. Similar to Strong Women, Strong Girls, the Girls Coalition supplies Hardy Girls with their curriculum as well.

Training will ensure that the correct message is given to the middle school girls. Hardy Girls is not offered as a club, but as an internship opportunity that will be opening up for spring semester.

Strong Women, Strong Girls and its counterparts appear to be a key aspect in creating positive social change for women and girls everywhere. The club allows strong women to teach girls what they’ve learned; and learn from the girls as well.