BOSTON GLOW
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Equal Pay Spitfire Recap

We kicked off our first Spitfire community discussion earlier this month! There won’t be a Spitfire in October because we are busy organizing our fabulous annual Ignite the Nite gala! It’s next Saturday, October 1 at the Multicultural Arts Center in Cambridge. Come and enjoy music, dancing, drinks, food, our silent auction, and supporting women and girls in Boston. We hope to see you there!

The MA Equal Pay Law

At the September Spitfire, we covered the Equal Pay bill that was signed into law this August. It makes Massachusetts one of only 6 U.S. states with strong equal pay laws and was on the front page of the New York Times!

The Spitfire featured three incredible guest speakers who each worked hard to get the bill passed: Katie Donovan, founder of Equal Pay Negotiations and a founding member of the MA Equal Pay Coalition; Jill Ashton, Director of Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women; and Dave Rini Esq., Prison Rape Elimination Act Project Coordinator at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and former VP of Legislation for Mass NOW.

They gave an overview of the law, background on what it took to get it passed, and a look ahead to the future.

Three big points of the law*

  • It states that employees who are doing comparable work have to be paid comparable compensation

  • It incentivizes employers to conduct an internal audit of compensation to make sure they comply with the law- they will receive some level of protection against lawsuits if they can prove they are trying to fix any problems they find

  • It aims to end secrecy about pay- employers can’t ask interviewees what they made at a prior job and they can’t punish employees for talking about compensation with their coworkers

A few more highlights*

  • “Comparable work” is defined as requiring similar skill, effort, and responsibility; it isn’t based on job title or description but on the work that people are actually doing

  • Employers can’t reduce someone else’s pay to comply

  • There is no exemption for companies based on size

  • Despite the fact that the pay gap for women of color is even wider than for white women, the bill doesn’t explicitly mention race; it does say that a special coalition needs to analyze pay inequity based on race and other protected classes, and lawyers can still use this law to better protect women of color

  • It goes into effect in July 2018

Background

Equal pay has been a legislative issue in Massachusetts for nearly two decades. For comparison, people have been trying to pass an equal pay bill at the federal level for over 50 years. The MA bill was supported by a coalition of around 40 organizations. Our speakers believe the bill passed so quickly because (1) a lot of people have worked hard to make equal pay an important and relatively noncontroversial issue, and (2) the bill afforded some protection to companies that can show they are actually trying to improve their pay practices.

Looking Forward

We will have to wait until July 2018 to really see the impacts of the equal pay law. In the meantime, our speakers believe that we need to spread the word. They hope that by the time it goes into effect, people will know about the law and what it can mean for them.

We can also use this law to help address similar issues in the future, like family leave, disability, and reproductive healthcare. Looking to the future for equal pay, our speakers think we need to get employers to include pay ranges in job descriptions, address recruiting practices around pay, and focus on closing the wider pay gaps that exist for women of color.

 


*We’re not lawyers. This post represents our understanding of the bill and what it means in general terms; it is not legal or business advice and we can’t guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this content. We recommend you consult a lawyer or other appropriate professional if you want legal or business advice.

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Organized Woman Spotlight: Danielle Olson, Founder of Gique



It isn't every day that you meet a woman in the community and within a matter of minutes are inspired by their determination and brilliance.  However, this is exactly what happened when we met Danielle Olson, founder of Gique.  After two months of hearing from our #RealGirlLeaders, we are excited to highlight women in our community who are making things happen, meeting their goals and empowering others along the way.  Today we are  thrilled to kick off our #OW
Spotlight Series with Danielle Olson.  You can learn more about Danielle at http://hellodanio.com and we're sure you'll want to after reading as she highlights her passion as a successful, intelligent woman of color providing innovating resources in the STEM field!

"When you’re completely focused on doing something you truly love, you lose your sense of ego & time."

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We asked Danielle to tell us a little bit more about her goals, and here's what she had to say.

I suppose you could call me idealistic, but I truly believe that each of us has a unique perspective that can be used to better the world in some way. In middle school, what drew me to join my school’s newspaper club was the idea that writing could help me empower myself and empower others. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I was exposed to the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) after enrolling in a Girls Exploring Engineering (GE2) mentorship program. This program helped me discover my passion for engineering, which provided me a way to, quite literally, build a better world.

To expand my understanding and knowledge of engineering, I learned about a 6-week summer program at MIT called Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) while searching online, applied, and got accepted. Those 6 weeks at MITES with a class of 70 other students of color working together to learn and grow changed my life. It was the first time I’d been a part of a learning community that embraced the philosophy “it’s all about the delta,” which means that it’s not about 

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where you start, but where you go. That’s what’s referred to as a growth mindset, and in a society that fails to provide an equitable quality of education to all students, a growth mindset is vital.

Quite frankly, when you’re a young woman of color working in software engineering, it is rare to see many other people that look like you leading the companies you admire. Most of the time, you don’t see a lot of people who look like you while you’re at the meeting table, either. However, in this industry, diversity of thought is critical because it challenges teams to craft better solutions for as many people as possible.  As someone who is underrepresented in this field, I feel compelled to use my unique voice to promote innovation. I also want to do what I can to help other young women and people of color to have their voices heard, as well. 

Today, I work as a Program Manager at the Microsoft New England Research & Development (NERD) Center in Kendall Square. I work on a product that enables people to be productive on their PCs and mobile devices while keeping their company’s data secure. It’s been a great experience learning how to listen to customers and figure out how to build software that makes their job a little easier. At the root of it all, I am passionate about building software because it can help make people’s lives better.


While I’m not at Microsoft, I spend my time running Gique (“geek”), an educational non-profit I started in my Senior House dorm room during my senior year at MIT. A gique is someone who combines art, science, and technology to innovate and make the world a better place. My organization’s mission is to inspire Boston-area youth about how to use art, science, and technology to bring their ideas to life. Growing Gique has been an awesome learning experience that has helped me to grow as an individual and as a member of a team of amazing, inspiring people.

One of my favorite quotes is by Leonardo da Vinci; he says: “Principles for the Development of a Complete Mind: Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses- especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”  Traditional K-12 educational programs expose students to humanities, social studies, science, and math in silos. However, we don’t experience the world in those same silos, which makes it hard to map what we learn in the classroom to what we experience in our daily lives.

My aspiration is to provide our young people with a way to map what they experience in their unique lives into new ideas and innovations that make their world a better place. I believe we can do this by integrating art + design thinking into science and technology curriculum. That’s what we are doing with Gique.

For the past year and a half, we have been providing standalone educational workshops to people of all ages in Boston and Cambridge through dance, coding, typography, and more. I am very excited that beginning in September 2015, we will be teaching weekly hands-on educational workshops to middle school students at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester. Additionally, this November we will be running our first educational workshop at the Bay Area Science Festival in California – our first west coast event! Our goal is to expand our curriculum into a yearlong out-of-school time educational program for students in the Greater Boston area.

It’s through Gique that I’ve rekindled my journalistic passion for sharing other people’s stories, with the goal of eliminating that single story of the engineer and the scientist who only uses their left-brain. Because, you see, the danger of the single story, as West African writer Chimamanda Adichie says, is that it leads to stereotypes. And the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.

The one thing that I hope to challenge the students I work with through Gique to do is to recognize that there is nobody like them. I challenge them to forge their own paths, to find their own passions, even when it means shattering the single story in order to author their own. I challenge them to recognize the power that they possess in the rich, multidimensional stories that they bring to the table – stories that will inform and enrich the designs of the next greatest technologies, the cure for cancer, 

IMG_9036.JPGand the engineering feats that will knock down boundaries our parents’ generation faced. I challenge them to start where they are, use what they have, and do what they can. And most importantly, I challenge them to embrace failure.

To not also share my stories of failure would be to flatten my own experience. In fact, were times during my 4 years at MIT when I wanted to quit, when I didn’t think I was going to pass the class, when it didn’t feel like it was going to eventually be “worth it.” However, with strong communities & mentorship, I persisted and I learned that the master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried. So, I want to challenge our students to embrace failure and persevere.

I’d like to finally share a message from engineer & artist, Bran Ferren, who was inspired to pursue both his passions for art & science after seeing the Pantheon, a famous building in Rome, as a young child:

“I've come to believe that the ingredients for the next Pantheons are all around us, just waiting for visionary people with the broad knowledge, multidisciplinary skills, and intense passion to harness them to make their dreams a reality. But these people don't spontaneously pop into existence. They need to be nurtured and encouraged from when they're little kids. We need to love them and help them discover their passions. We need to encourage them to work hard and help them understand that failure is a necessary ingredient for success, as is perseverance. We need to help them to find their own role models, and give them the confidence to believe in themselves and to believe that anything is possible, and just as my grandpa did when he took me shopping for surplus, and just as my parents did when they took me to science museums, we need to encourage them to find their own path, even if it's very different from our own.

But a cautionary note: We also need to periodically pry them away from their modern miracles, the computers, phones, tablets, game machines and TVs, take them out into the sunlight so they can experience both the natural and design wonders of our world, our planet and our civilization. If we don't, they won't understand what these precious things are that someday they will be responsible for protecting and improving. We also need them to understand something that doesn't seem adequately appreciated in our increasingly tech-dependent world, that art and design are not luxuries, nor somehow incompatible with science and engineering. They are in fact essential to what makes us special.”

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Real Girl Leaders: Ayan Ahmed

Can you believe it? Today is the 15th Wednesday in our #RealGirlLeaders blog series.  We have loved highlighting the incredible young women of the Boston area and starting conversation about their ideas and community leadership.  

Today we are thrilled to continue the series with Ayan Ahmed.  Ayan is from Roxbury, MA and is a sophomore at Community Charter School of Cambridge. Her goal is to be the first Somali American elected official.  

ayan_388.JPGShe is very passionate about education access and equal funding for education, and the importance of  providing children regardless of their neighborhood, language or background with access to a high quality education in a supportive environment.  Ayan served as a 2015 Girls About Political Participation leader and was able to meet with Representative Alice Peisch, the Chair of the Joint Committee on Education from Wellesley, MA.  

We asked Ayan to tell us about a woman who inspired her:

"The woman that inspires me is my mother, Deeqo Jibril. My mother was born in the capital of Somali, Mogadishu. She is the youngest of 5 children. When my mom was one year old her father passed away. In 1991 there was a civil war in Somali, at the time my mom was in 7th grade attending Hawo Tako middle school. My mother lost family members in the civil war. She was among the the lucky ones who escaped to Kenya at a refugee camp. After living in the refugee camp for three months she had the chance to come to Boston. Today my mother is an entrepreneur, humanitarian, and ardent activist of social justice. Being a single mother of four children she exemplifies a new generation of African women and her strength of character set a uniquely valuable model for women of African origin to emulate. She was able to break the shackles of cultural barriers that still undermining women’s role. Rising above countless obstacles herself, she unwaveringly set out to reach out immigrant women and children in Boston and her zeal and integrity started to get noticed by not only African women but also by individuals and institutions that uphold the same principles as hers. She has worked State Senator Jarrett Barriors, Governor Patrick and Elizabeth Warren’s Campaigns. She was chosen by the Massachusetts Commissioner on the Status of Women as one of their "Unsung Heroes". My mom is also the founder and Executive Director of the Somali Community and Cultural Association (SCCA) in Boston with a Vision to support and elevate the role of Boston’s Somali community in the political, social, and economic life of the city."

Ayan's political aspirations are Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Senator Elizabeth Warren, US. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.

Hopefully we'll have the chance to vote for Ayan in the future! #RealGirlLeaders

 

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Real Girl Leaders: Larisa Bogomolov

IMG_7881.jpgToday's #RealGirlLeader is Larisa Bogomolov.  Larisa is from Lynn is a senior at St. Mary’s School in Lynn. She is particularly interested in women's leadership and issues of climate change and conservation. She is an advocate for natural parks and resources in her spare time.  As part of the GAPP Program, Larisa met with Representative Christine Barber of Somerville.

We are inspired by Larisa's leadership in her community, and we asked Larisa to tell us about a woman who inspired her:

"One of my biggest heroes is my mom. I am a triplet, and, currently my mom is the sole provider for our family. She works as hard as she possibly can while introducing my brothers and I to many new experiences. She has made me into who I am today through introducing me to art, literature, travel, language, and many different cultures. She supports me at all of my sporting events and any other event I have. She has taught me to love everyone, and has helped me to reach many of my goals."

When it comes to politics she sees Condoleezza Rice and Sandra Day O'Connor as influences saying,

"Condoleezza Rice is one of the most influential women in politics today. Not only because of her influence in foreign policy, however, because of her calm manner and how well she handles herself. Rice has worked rigorously throughout her life and lived through major periods in American history. Her vast knowledge of language and foreign affairs blows my mind.Another woman in politics who truly is an inspiration is Sandra Day O'Conner. She grew up on a ranch, and, defied all odds by having a love for learning. She defied the cliche roles of women of the time by earning a degree from Stanford in economics, and, then earning a degree in law. Sandra broke the glass ceiling and became one of the first women on the Supreme Court."

To learn more about Larisa or any of our #RealGirlLeaders, email leah@bostonglow.org. We'd love to hear your thoughts abd share as many strong, smart and active young women in our community!

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Real Girl Leaders: Akili Sundai

Every Wednesday here at Boston GLOW we highlight a young woman making an impact in her own community as part of our #RealGirlLeaders series.  We truly encourage you to share, comment and spread the word that the young women in our communities are doing big things, creating change and letting their voices be heard.

Today is no different.  Today we bring you a #RealGirlLeader, Akili Sundai.  

Akili is from Cambridge, MA and is a junior at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.  In 2014, Akili was selected as an #IGNITEChange Finalist for her community change project proposal to encourage young women in STEM fields to connect.  In 2014 and 2015 Akili was selected as a GAPP Girl Leader as part of the Girls About Political Participation (GAPP) program.  Last October, Akili, had the opportunity to meet with and discuss political issues with Senator Joan Lovely of Salem, MA.  

We had the opportunity to learn more about Ms. Sundai when we asked her a few questions.

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Boston GLOW: Tell us about a woman who inspires you:

Akili: My mom inspires me the most, because growing up she lived in a very poor environment, but she has le

Boston GLOW: Who are your political inspirations?arned how to solidify herself and make the most of what she has. My mom always tells me that I need to take advantage of all the different resources and opportunities available to me, and strive to do my best because I do not only represent my myself, but my family as well. Additionally, my mom pushes herself everyday to do the best she can, even though there are many people that may try to stop her from succeeding. In my eyes, I find this very motivating because you cannot let anyone stop you from accomplishing something you so work hard for.

Akili: Fadumo Dayib is very inspirational, primarily because she is aiming to run for president in Somalia- a country where they dismiss women's rights. I find it empowering how she is at Harvard studying so she can return and run for president.

Boston GLOW: What does it mean to be an active citizen?

Akili: In my opinion, a citizen means to connected and engaged in your surrounding community, and to show an effort to improve or point out the flaws in the community.

Boston GLOW: What are your career goals?

Akili: I wish to work at a CDC lab, to help research and find cures for diseases in the future. 

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Akili Sundai and the 2014 Girls About Political Participation Elected Officials and GAPP Girl Leaders Participants at the Massachusetts State House.

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Real Girl Leaders: Kailana Harriott

We love Wednesdays!  Why? Because it's #RealGirlLeader Day!  We love to share profiles of young women in our community making a change, following their dreams, and being true active leaders.  Everyday our #RealGirlLeaders prove that you don't have to wait until you're an adult to make an impact!  

Today we highlight Kailana Harriott.  Kailana is a 2015 Participant in the Girls About Political Participation program that allows high school aged young women to connect with female elected officials.  Earlier this year, Kailana was able to demonstrate her commitment to creating opportunities for her peers by meeting with Representative Jennifer Benson.  

Kailana is from Roxbury and is a Junior at Elizabeth Seton Academy in Dorchester.

 

Here's what Kailana has to say!

Boston GLOW: Tell us about a woman who inspires you:

The woman that inspires me would have to be myself in the future. There is a certain vision that I have for myself and what I would like to see myself doing in the future. This inspires me to make better choices so that one day that vis

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ion may become my own reality.

Her political inspirations are:

A woman that inspires me would have to be Hillary Clinton because she has done so much for our government and not let herself be cast in the shadow of her husband along with not feeding into the gender roles that are ever present in our society.

The questions she would like to understand are:

1)Do you feel as though you are able to have a balance between both your personal life and your political career?

2) Have you been a witness to any gender roles in your
profession or position?

3) what women inspired you to take a profession in politics?

After meeting with Representative Benson, Kailana is eager to explore more chances to understand the political process and looks forward to speaking at the State House soon.  

Do you have questions for Kailana? We'd love to hear your thoughts!

 

Is there a young woman in your community making a difference? We'd love to highlight her in future #RealGirlLeaders posts.  Email leah@bostonglow.org for details.

 

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Real Girl Leaders: Anna Nicole Bosco

Today we continue our #RealGirlLeaders Wednesday series.  This fall, 8 passionate and talented young women from the Greater Boston area participated in Boston GLOW's 2nd Annual Girls About Political Participation (GAPP) program.  These high school aged female leaders worked on a cross-generational leadership project aimed at decreasing the gender gap in women's political leadership.

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The GAPP Girl Leaders each met with a female elected official, shared stories and discussed the importance of women in political representation.  Today we highlight Anna Nicole Bosco, a Boston GLOW #RealGirlLeader and participant in the GAPP Program.

Anna Nicole Bosco (Nikki) is from Wakefield and is a senior at Wakefield High School.  Last September she met with a
delegation of female leaders from Thailand and in October spent the day with female elected officials in the Massachusetts State House. In her spare time she is a youth leader for the84.org a state-wide anti-s
moking coalition.

We asked Nikki a few questions:

Boston GLOW: Who do you see as an inspirational woman?

Nikki Bosco: 

A woman that really inspires me today is the actress Laverne Cox. She has made amazing progress in the areas of transgender and race awareness by using social media and her Hollywood platform to share her experience and shed some light on the issues often ignored by the media. She is a truly amazing and intelligent woman who focuses on educating people and curing misconceptions. She always astute, but never rude in her comments, unlike many celebrities online. Unfortunately, there are some people in America not quite ready for a powerful transwoman of color, but she handles inappropriate comments with grace and wit.

Boston GLOW: What does it mean to be a citizen?

Nikki Bosco:

Being a citizen means much more than being a resident to me. Being a citizen means you understand and exercise your civic duty by being involved in community politics, activism, and service. Many people think they are entitled to a government that will address their every need without having to vote or be active in voicing their opinions in any way. This is simply untrue. We are lucky to live in a country that protects our rights to free speech and ensures the individual influence on the community, so it is simply negligent to not fulfill one's constitutional responsibilities.

Boston GLOW: What  questions would you ask a female elected official?

Nikki Bosco: 

What can average citizens do to prevent government corruption and prejudicial favoritism?

What resources should citizens rely on to receive the most informative, unbiased information on our government?

Boston GLOW: Who are your favorite female political leaders:

Wendy Davis and Elizabeth Warren really inspire me because they truly fight for minority and women's rights in a less-than-progressive Congress. I was so excited that I was able to meet Senator Warren this past summer as part of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids' annual Youth Action Summit in Washington DC.

We are proud to have Nikki serve as a 2015 GAPP Girl Leader and represent the #RealGirlLeaders of Boston.  Do you know any #RealGirlLeaders making a difference? We'd love to highlight them - email leah@bostonglow.org for detail. 

 

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Real Girl Leaders: Isho Haji


Today we continue our #RealGirlLeaders Wednesday series.  This fall, 8 passionate and talented young women from the Greater Boston area participated in Boston GLOW's 2nd Annual Girls About Political Participation (GAPP) program.  These high school aged female leaders worked on a cross-generational leadership project aimed at decreasing the gender gap in women's political leadership.

The GAPP Girl Leaders each met with a female elected official, shared stories and discussed the importance of women in political representation.  Today we highlight Isho Haji, a Boston GLOW #RealGirlLeader and participant in the GAPP Program.

Isho Haji is from Dorchester and is a senior at the John D. O'Bryant School.  Last September she met with a delegation of female leaders from Thailand and had the opportunity to interview with Representative Cory Atkins of Concord, MA.

We asked Isho a few questions:

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Boston GLOW: Who do you see as an inspirational woman?

Isho Haji: 

A women who inspires me is Helen Keller, an author, political activist and lecturer. She is also deaf and blind. Throughout her life time she accomplished so much despite her disability. I am partially blind often times people assume that I cannot do much, but thanks to her I felt that I shouldn't cross off my dreams of being in the health field just because of my disability.

Boston GLOW: What does it mean to be a citizen?

Isho Haji: Being a citizen means that I receive the same rights and opportunities as everyone else in America despite my physical appearance, and my identity as a Muslim girl.

Boston GLOW: What three questions would you ask a female elected official?

Isho Haji: 

1. In field where women are 

underrepresented what led you to becoming a politician?
2. Why do you think a lot of women are not in politics?
3. As a women in what ways do you think the U.S would benefit from electing a female president?

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Isho poses with the other GAPP Girl Leaders and two women delegates from Thailand.  We are proud to have Isho serve as a 2015 GAPP Girl Leader and represent the #RealGirlLeaders of Boston.  

Do you know any #RealGirlLeaders making a difference?

We'd love to highlight them - email leah@bostonglow.org for details.

 

 

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Real Girl Leaders: Yinyu Li

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Today is the final day of our 2015 #RealGirlLeaders blog series.  We are thrilled to announce the Grand Prize Winner of our 2015 IGNITE Change contest, Yinyu Li.  Yinyu is 15 and a student at Boston Latin School.  Now in it's 5th year, the IGNITE Change contests asks girls throughout Boston what they would change about the role of women and girls in their school or community.  This spring, with the support of Boston GLOW, Yinyu will be implementing her project to empower women and girls in business.  Congratulations Yinyu and all our #RealGirlLeaders!

Ignite Girls in Business

As a child, I remember being asked, What do you

want to be when you grow up? I had no idea at the time, but I answered solemnly, “A boss.” Adults laughed at my response, and only later did I realize why: girls aren’t expected to assume the roles of CEO or chairwoman, and with the exception of a few ambitious women, few actually reach these posts over the course of their careers.

Frankly, today’s women are devastatingly under-represented within high management positions. It is well known that only 3% of CEOs in the Fortune 500--the five hundred largest American companies--are women.[1] This is sharply at odds with the fact that women constitute the majority of the consumer market and “control more than 80% of U.S. spending.”[2] In other words, women have little say in the products made for and purchased by them, suggesting that in order to drive social change, women must play a more prominent role in business. Inequality on the workforce, in terms of pay and promotion, after all, has been a situation faced by women at all levels in all occupations for generations.

The challenge which stands before us is the popular perception that women are somehow unsuitable for senior management positions in businesses, which coincidentally are the highest earning jobs. For kids, this is the

 

idea that “bosses” are men and “secretaries” are women. For young women like me, this is an inferiority complex ingrained by our society that both discourages us from our aspirations and exacerbates workplace inequality.

However, I believe that we can alleviate this problem within our local community by introducing young girls to entrepreneurship and business. Thus I propose a program for fifteen middle-school girls from across the city over the course of ten workshops in which they will be making and selling crafts and effectively working as a team to build their own “company.” In conjunction to providing this hands-on experience, I hope to invite local college student volunteers and female entrepreneurs, perhaps from the Boston Entrepreneurs’ Network or Wonder Women of Boston, to speak with and mentor the girls during each session. This is an engaging and cost-effective opportunity for girls to foster their own entrepreneurial skills and learn more about the process of running a business.

At the start of the program, participants will learn to make a small selection of jewelry: chain necklaces, leather bracelets, and beaded earrings. The materials for these crafts will be provided by the budget and during this time, girls will be able to experiment with and develop their “product line.” I intend to make the experience highly enjoyable by providing them with the opportunity to design their own jewelry and to make crafts together, activities which will call upon the girls’ teamwork and creativity. With the help of our mentors (college business majors and female entrepreneurs), they will be guided in the process of product research and of minimizing the costs of production.

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The next few workshops will involve the sale of their handmade jewelry and crafts. To promote their “company,” girls will develop a brand and marketing strategy. In this process, they will learn to distinguish themselves from competitors, to understand their customers, and to advertise online, especially through social media. The girls will sell their products themselves to their own acquaintances and at local farmers’ markets, such as the Roslindale Farmers’ Market, as well as through an online Etsy.com shop. I also plan to negotiate with local retailers, such as thrift shops like Boomerangs in West Roxbury, to sell their crafts.

At each workshop, girls will engage in a discussion and reflection upon the most effective strategies: Which designs sold the best? How can they improve sales? What was the best way to promote the “company?” By analyzing results and making influential decisions together, the girls will also be exercising their critical thinking and communication skills. Part of the budget allows for the participant team to decide on how to spend efficiently, whether on raw materials or promotion. The purpose of this activity is to hone the girls’ financial decision making, with the goal of generating as much profit as possible. These expenditures made during the program will be documented carefully and any money left the end of the program will be donated back to Boston GLOW.

The handicraft business developed by the participating girls will essentially simulate a startup company. This endeavor will present girls with an exciting introduction to the business world and may potentially inspire girls to start their own business or to become a leader within the local community. By teaching them marketable handicraft skills and crucial entrepreneurial skills, this program seeks to empower girls to become valuable leaders and capable citizens.

What I hope girls will gain from this program is a new perspective on their futures and careers--they are not confined to being subordinates in the workplace, nor do they lack anything to become successful businesswomen. I believe that women need to be able to envision themselves in high positions, to aim high, and to maintain their dreams, without being held back by traditional views of male dominance. The stigma and unequal pay that comes with being an ambitious or acknowledged woman, as seen in the case of many female celebrities and within workplaces, needs to be eradicated by the increased involvement of women in high management positions. Just by exposing young women to entrepreneurship and by showing them that they too can make money independently, I hope that more girls will be determined to become passionate and responsible leaders. Perhaps then, we will be one step closer to the day when nobody will laugh at a little girl who says she wants to become a boss.



[1]Klotz, Frieda. "Equality At Work For Women: Is This As Good As It Gets?" Forbes. Accessed April 6, 2015. http://www.forbes.com/sites/friedaklotz/2011/12/16/equality-at-work-for-women-is-this-as-good-as-it-will-get/.

[2]"Women Dominate The Global Market Place; Here Are 5 Keys To Reaching Them." Co.Design. April 11, 2011. Accessed April 6, 2015. http://www.fastcodesign.com/1663594/women-dominate-the-global-market-place-here-are-5-keys-to-reaching-them.

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Real Girl Leaders: Jacarrea Garraway

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Over the past 8 weeks it has been an honor to highlight to voices of #RealGirlLeaders in the Boston community.  Today is no different.  Today we bring you Jacarrea Garraway who is a 17 year old student at Boston Latin Academy.  Jacarrea is a true leader advocating for more leadership and representation of women in film.  This spring, Jacarrea will be putting her IGNITE Change plan into action with the support of Boston GLOW.  For more information, email jacarrea@bostonglow.org

 

I have been obsessed with the entertainment industry for as long as I can remember. This past year, I have been apart of a film program where we write our own screenplays, work with real film equipment and edit our own projects in a computer lab. It's great- except for the fact that it didn't take long for me to notice that I am the only girl in the class. Every year the program often has a limited number of girls, but this year it was at an all time low. It is a bit awkward for me to participate in the conversations we have sometimes because all the topics are told from a male perspective and I feel as though my input would be ignored. I was inspired by this to do something that may give women and girls more representation in mainstream media.

 As girls, the media is not always our best friend. For years it has degraded us, but every once in a while, we see a strong female character that reminds us how powerful girls really are and that usually happens because there are strong female influences working behind the scenes. From a young age on, we stare at our television sets and watch different representations of women, some who are in the popular crowd, others who are outcast and some who are just placed in a situation for male enjoyment but there is much more to these stories that could be included if there were more women crafting these shows and movies. When girls have big dreams of hollywood, not all of them solely desire to be the model/actress types, but there are those still in the shadows that actually want to be on set holding up the megaphone as a director, who want to be on their computers typing up the next great American screenplay that is bound to get Oscar buzz and there are even girls out there who want to be behind the scenes editing where all the magic happens- but many of them think that they won’t fit into those roles because it’s mostly men who have the most success in those areas. How many female directors, screenwriters and editors can you name off the top of your head without searching on google? Probably not many, and that is exactly why more women need to fulfil these positions. According to an NY Times article called ‘Lights, Camera, Take Action: On Many Fronts, Women are Fighting for Better Opportunity in Hollywood’ it states that, “ increasing numbers of people — if mostly women — are pushing back hard at the industry’s biases. And they’re pushing back publicly, a gutsy stance in an industry that runs on secrets, lies and fear.” In other words, there should be no more excuses as to why more women shouldn’t be busting their way into hollywood offices and getting the careers they so rightfully deserve.

 Girls need to start seeing for themselves that they have the potential to excel in the entertainment business like men do; all they need is more exposure to the field. My proposal is to have workshops for girls at schools and/or community centers that would help them learn the fundamental basics of designing a film. I would like to call this project “Garraway Studios” which would be known as ‘a girl-powered film/media organization.’ The workshops will demonstrate how to begin the process of making a film by first developing and pitching the idea, creating a storyboard, being taught how to format a screenplay, learning how to correctly use film equipment, experimenting with cinematography and gaining some simple video editing skills. The final product will be posted on a youtube page created for the program. During this process the girls will learn to persevere and remain true to their artistic vision while also learning how to collaborate together when working on a common goal. In the beginning workshops, the girls will discuss topics pertaining to the entertainment industry that have potentially affected the way they look at themselves or women in general and then they will develop storylines that will enforce the messages and images they actually want to see on their screens.

 

Empowerment would be one of the main goals of the program. If more girls believed in themselves, then they would break more barriers. The workshops would be made simple for girls with varied experience in filmmaking. By the end of the workshops, all of them should be able to take charge on any set if they wanted to. They should realize that men are not the only ones who can control what the public sees. The workshop is directed towards getting the notion erased from young girls minds that they are not capable of making films as good as men because that’s not true at all! If these girls learn that lesson now, jacarrea2.jpgthey will not be so easily intimidated by the male ego when they become grown women.

 The budget will provide 12 girls the opportunity to participate in these workshops. They should be from different neighborhoods and come from different backgrounds in the Boston area. The workshop would be mentored by local women with expertise in working with film, television and communications. The workshops should also feature special guest who are currently making a name for themselves by being apart of big hollywood productions, owning their own film companies or writers who have had their scripts developed into actual independent movies, etc. These speakers will be an example to the girls on how to remain focused on their aspirations, learn how to cope with rejection and remain strong while learning which opportunities are the right to pursue and which ones wouldn’t be the best career choices. Plus, these speakers may be able to answer any other questions girls have about the industry that they would be otherwise unable to find out without being provided this as a resource.

 This is such an important matter to me, not just as an aspiring entertainer, but as a girl myself because they are not many chances for us to prove how great we are like there should be. We have the take the initiative to go out there and find ways to get acquainted with people who are in the film industry and network to make connections that might get us to where we want to be without having to exploit ourselves. We have to learn how to define who we are and not let anyone else or even the media do that for us. It can be difficult to make it in an industry this competitive if you don’t feel any support from somewhere. Even if they don’t go on to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, my goal is for them to take what they learned from the workshops and be able to apply it anything they do in life. They may encounter a few tough roadblocks in their paths but I want them to keep moving forward until they reached the destination that they desire.

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