The Alliance for Girls has just released a new, innovative report that defines solutions to creating gender-inclusive communities.
Alliance for Girls, the largest alliance of girl-serving organizations, released its Radical Visions of Safety for Girls by Girls report. This groundbreaking report puts forward solutions for community safety based on the input and lived experiences of girls, gender expansive youth and their champions.
“COVID and the racial justice uprisings of 2020 exposed more people to how the top-down, punishment-based old ways of thinking about safety, and the entrenched systems that were supposed to keep us safe, have always failed Black and brown girls,” said Emma Mayerson, founder and executive director of Alliance for Girls. “This report features the leading edge of violence prevention informed by the practical vision of Black girls and girls of color, gender expansive youth, and the adults who champion them. These solutions will lead to our collective safety and freedom.”
Radical Visions of Safety for Girls by Girls is Alliance for Girls’ latest report to center the voices, beliefs and experiences of girls and gender-expansive youth. It is a practical tool for girls’ champions—parents, caregivers, service providers, and all caring adults in the lives of girls and gender-expansive youth—interested in designing holistic, research- and girl-informed interventions that address the root causes and not just the symptoms of violence faced by those they support.
The report defines safety and healthy relationships, and generates solutions that value and build off girls’ strength, assets and unique characteristics. Key takeaways include:
- The way girls characterize safety moves away from traditional assumptions and encompasses notions of physical, emotional, and spiritual ideas of comfort, non judgment, acceptance, and belonging.
- The most profound barriers hampering girls and their champions from achieving safety and healthy relationships include systemic barriers like racism and stigma, operational barriers such as staff capacity, community barriers such as lack of support from school administrators, and personal barriers such as trauma and lack of parental support.
- Systems of support for girls are disconnected and lack continuity of care that addresses girls as whole people.
- Supportive connections with adults, parents, and caregivers contribute profoundly to their well-being.
- Social media and digital literacy are important pathways for girls to connect. Fostering more understanding and training for both girls and adults can leverage these pathways’ potential for positive impact and mitigate their negative effects.
- Girls have a clear and powerful sense of what they want, how their experiences define their needs, and the best ways to help them thrive. The pathways to power for them are sovereignty, knowledge, and adults who acknowledge and include them.
Radical Visions of Safety for Girls by Girls was developed from a review of the extant literature on strengths-based outcomes for girls addressing toxic gender norms and cultures of violence; an analysis of the services and approaches used by organizations that serve girls; and an analysis of local and national gender- and culturally responsive principles of practice and case studies showing how members address strict gender norms and violence. Alliance for Girls, in partnership with Evaluation Studio, conducted four focus groups and 41 interviews with a total of 89 girls, parents/caregivers, stakeholders, and program practitioners.
The report features original illustrations by mensen, an artist who collaborates with local and transnational grassroots initiatives by and for working-class and poor communities, immigrants, LGBTQIA+ people, women, youth and communities impacted by trauma, violence and the legal system.
Alliance for Girls will continue to apply the practices and recommendations captured in this report to its ongoing programming and advocacy work. The research, stories, artwork and ideas that comprise the report are the basis of an ongoing series of resources, art, events and collaborations that will roll out throughout the year. The first is an upcoming collaboration with BART, Betti Ono, Black Girls Brilliance, and the Oakland Unified School District, which will be unveiled in the beginning of April. Learn more and sign up for email updates at the Alliance for Girls website: https://www.alliance4girls.org/
About Alliance for Girls
Alliance for Girls is a membership-based association developing leadership in the service sector, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Nationally, we are the largest regional alliance of girl-serving organizations, which now includes 200 organizations and individuals that employ 2,400 people with more than 5,100 volunteers serving more than 300,000 girls across six Bay Area counties. Our members make our communities safer by centering girls voices, experiences and leadership. Learn more about our collective vision for radical safety here: Alliance4Girls.org/RadicalVisions.