Girls Today Conference Mentors Middle Schoolers
Approximately 65 middle school girls, ages 12-15, took part in the 15th annual Girls Today Conference in October. Girls Today was an all-day conference held at the Forest Grove campus that brought together graduate and undergraduate students from the School of Graduate Psychology, and Master of Social Work. The Center for Gender Equity and Advocacy and the American Association of University Women organized this event.
The Girls Today event kicked off with a panel of undergraduate students who spoke about their college experiences, followed by ice breaker activities, and a campus tour. Graduate-led discussion groups tackled important topics such as healthy relationships, positive body image, self-esteem and social media. Attendees opened up to the process as the day went on; with each passing hour, the girls came to trust one another more and that helped create a safe space to talk about uncomfortable topics.
As a woman, I feel it is my responsibility to help shape and guide the mindsets of upcoming generations of women to feel empowered, self-compassionate and to fully comprehend their own worth. Today’s unhealthy social culture surrounding sexuality, mixed with social media’s inherent self-image toxicity, provides an unstable foundation from which to grow and develop a true sense of identity. For many young girls, this cracked and faulty foundation could follow them for the rest of their lives, unless they develop the self-awareness to restructure and reform what was broken.
Girls Today was a great conference that allowed us to reach out to the girls at an age when they are still developing, before life becomes more complicated with relationships, children and a career. Young girls need role models who have done their inner work and can show them what true confidence, self-love and emotional equanimity looks like in action. I am grateful to have been a part of the Girls Today experience and I'll always remember the positive influence all the girls had on me too.