Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) is a Brooklyn based, intergenerational organization committed to the optimal development of girls of color. GGE centers the experiences of young women of color, in particular, Black cis and trans young women, LGBTQ and gender nonconforming youth within advocacy campaigns, participatory action research and programming.

Young women of color disproportionately experience a continuum of violence ranging from verbal, physical and psychological abuse, to sexual assault and rape, homophobia, transphobia, racism, classism, poverty, state sanctioned and institutional violence. Forty percent Black and 37% Latina female students don’t graduate from high school, compared to 22% of white female students[i]...[ii] nearly 1 in 6 transgender and gender nonconforming students face harassment so severe they are forced to leave school.

This chapter will share how Girls for Gender Equity works with cis and trans girls of color, and gender non-conforming youth of color to reach their potential as social justice advocates and leaders demanding an end to gender based violence, educational injustices and advocating for gender and racial equity within the 21st Century.

[i] When Girls Don’t Graduate We All Fail: National Women’s Law Center, 2007

[ii][ii] Blake, J., Butler, B., Lewis, C., & Darensbourg, A. (2011). Unmasking the inequitable discipline experiences of urban Black girls: implications for urban educational stakeholders. The Urban Review, 43(1), 90-106.

Author Biography

Joanne Smith, a Haitian-American social worker born in New York, is the founder and executive director of Girls for Gender Equity (GGE). She served as the co-chair of the nation's first Young Women's Initiative for girls of color in New York City, a steering committee member of Black Girl Movement, and a movement maker with Move to End Violence, a 10-year initiative designed by NoVo Foundation to strengthen the collective capacity to end gender-based violence in the United States.

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