Making Women's Leadership a Priority

Making Women's Leadership a Priority

Chrysalis has long made women’s leadership a strategic priority in our work. The Girl Scouts Research Institute (GSRI) recently sampled 3,000 girls/young women and 1,000 boys/young men ages 8 to 21 about their views of leadership tp explore their beliefs about gender and political leadership (race/ethnicity was predominantly white – 53%, 15% Black, 20% Latinx, 7% Asian, and 4% multiracial).

Answers demonstrated an interesting shift in view in younger people – more than 70% expressed they believe both women and men make equally good political leaders.

Girls and young women also noted they want to close the congressional leadership gap *currently only 24% of Congress is women). When asked what the gender ratio goal should be,3/4 of girls and 2/3 of boys noted their hope that women will be equally represented or overrepresented in Congress in coming years.

Additionally, 9 of 10 girls and 6 of 10 boys shared a positive view about a woman holding the office of president of the United States. But their notion of why a woman has not yet been elected president varies.

Participants noted several ways to address the current gender gap in politics:

  1. Encourage girls to think of themselves as leaders and provide them with opportunities to practice leadership (including addressing gender stereotypes about leadership).
  1. Teach all children, including boys, about the importance of gender equality and making certain women and girls have opportunities to succeed.
  1. Provide girls with role models who encourage them and ensure access to civics education to expand girls’ interest and knowledge.

The GSRI report notes that of girls now involved in leadership, 7 in 10 girls surveyed held leadership roles in after-school groups or organizations. This is one of the reasons Chrysalis created GirlPower, our high school peer mentoring program to help young women gain skills in leadership and to learn that their voices are important and valued.

At our recent board meeting we heard from our Chrysalis After-School evaluator about the significant changes both CAS and GirlPower are making by helping girls aspire to become leaders and changemakers. And we can be proud that GirlPower peer mentors express their belief that  they are making a positive impact on both the girls they lead, and in the broader society in general.

Remarkable results we can attribute to both our funding and our innovation.