Girls Inc. Policy & Advocacy Priorities
Girls Inc. of Washington County is committed to advancing the rights and opportunities of girls and young women, to reduce and eliminate the barriers girls face, and to reform systems that impede their success. We approach this work with an equity lens, focusing in particular on the needs of girls from low-income neighborhoods and girls of color, who face multiple, intersectional challenges. We are committed to girl-centered advocacy, informed by the lived experiences of girls, and girl-led advocacy that lifts up girls’ voices and empowers them to be change agents in our community and beyond.
COMBAT BULLYING, SEXUAL HARASSMENT, AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE
• Ensure schools prevent and address harassment and violence, and student survivors get the support they need to continue their education.
• Prevent sexual violence, teen dating violence, and child sex trafficking by raising awareness and pushing schools to teach healthy relationship education and train staff to identify signs of victimization.
• Strengthen laws, policies, and programs that promote trauma-informed practices and improve support for survivors of gender-based violence.
PROMOTE ACCESS TO EDUCATION & ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE
• Promote girls’ access to meaningful educational opportunities for career paths that are nontraditional for women, including in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
• Advance diverse media representation of women and girls in nontraditional career fields.
• Reform unfair school discipline policies and practices that disproportionately push out of school girls of color, girls with disabilities, and LGBT youth.
• Advance policies that provide educational opportunities for young women, regardless of real or perceived immigration status or family income.
SUPPORT GIRLS’ MENTAL HEALTH
• Combat prevalent stigmas surrounding mental health issues and treatment, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and trauma.
• Promote diverse, empowering images of girls and women of all races, ethnicities, skin colors, sizes, body types, and abilities, and combat limiting depictions of women that contribute to mental health conditions and low self-esteem.
• Push for more school-based health centers, counselors, social workers, and other programs that help low-income youth access mental health services.
• Advocate for trauma survivors’ access to the resources they need to heal and succeed, in schools, in the juvenile justice system, and in their communities.
ADVANCE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
• Advocate for schools to provide comprehensive, medically accurate, non-shaming, and LGBT-inclusive sexuality education that informs young people about how to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
• Expand and protect access to quality, affordable reproductive health care for girls and young women