The theme for International Day of the Girl 2019 is "GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable" to cheer on girls around the world as they inspire, break boundaries and take charge of their own future.
In 2019, more girls are empowered to finish school and fewer are getting married and having children while still children themselves. More are involved in STEM and gaining skills to join the future workforce. They are defying stereotypes, initiating global movements, and working to shape a brighter future for girlkind.
But, there's still a long way to go and girls will need all the help they can get on this journey. There remain a multitude of barriers to the success of girls in developing countries, for example, from education-inequity to child marriage and forced domestic labor.
And here in the US, girls of color face their own barriers, such as reduced access to STEM curricula and learning opportunities due to lack of STEM resources in low-income schools disproportionately attended by students of color and stereotypes attached to both race and gender that discourage girls of color from pursuing STEM education and opportunities.
Girls of color and of lower socio-economic status struggle to participate in after-school and extracurricular activities, as well. Key barriers to their participation include cost and transportation. For after-school programs that are not located on school campuses, lack of transportation is an “often an insurmountable problem." And even programs that are based in schools are not accessible for many students if transportation home is not provided.
In the US, the rate of food insecurity is highest for households with children in the South. Girls are 11% more likely to skip meals due to food insecurity than boys. Meal skipping in children has been found to be correlated with lower test scores, grades, attentiveness, and a higher rate of obesity.
YWCA TechGYRLS seeks to address the many barriers to success faced by under-served girls in our community. This free afterschool program for girls 4th-8th grade offers encouragement in their studies, supervised access to computer and internet resources, tutoring and mentoring, physical exercise, STEM-based learning activities, transportation from school to the YWCA and later to their homes, and an evening meal.
TechGYRLS are breaking down their own barriers through academic achievement. During the 2018-2019 school year:
- 50% of TechGYRLS improved their Math grades from the first to third quarter.
- 43% of TechGYRLS improved their Language Arts grades from the first to third quarter.
- 56% of TechGYRLS made the honor roll.
If you'd like to help support this program on #InternationalDayoftheGirl, please visit this page to make a contribution. Thank you for your generosity and for helping TechGYRLS realize their full potential and empowering them to be a "GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable" leaders of tomorrow.