Are Girl Power Camps Really Good for Girls?

Any mother who wasn’t at the top of the social pyramid growing up (and maybe even those who were) has meditated about what we’d like to tell our own daughters as they head into middle school and beyond. Don’t make everything a drama. Act confident, and people will be happy to be around you. Relax. Say what you mean, don’t apologize, don’t back down. We know, of course, that those aren’t lessons that can be taught by your mother, but we still hope that we’ll be the parent who really breaks through. If (when) we fail, the Girls Leadership Institute can step into the void. But should we want it to? That’s a link to what I think on Slate. Short answer: I think engineering camp would be a better choice.

One Response to “Are Girl Power Camps Really Good for Girls?”

  1. Hello — I just had a chance to read your post on Slate. Of course I understand that having me and my work profiled in the Times is fair game for lots of discussion and critique in the blogosphere, but when it comes from a place like Double X (incidentally, not a blog that’s exactly shown me love in the past — see here, I am compelled to respond. Especially because I have to wonder: did you read the entire Times piece? I’m with you in your post until you link the skills we’re teaching at GLI to the reports of “girly jobs.” The Times piece indicates that we are working exactly *against* that phenomenon, so I am feeling confused. To quote: “If girls can resolve tensions with their friends, [Ms. Simmons] believes, they will be positioned one day to ask for promotions and raises, and to be treated respectfully by those they love. In effect, they can become leaders of their own lives.”

    In other words, the Girls Leadership Institute is teaching girls a skill set they can use to muscle their way out of the “girly job” muck and earn and achieve on par with their male peers.

    I want to be clear that I have long been accustomed to constructive criticism and indeed welcome it. This is part of what we teach at GLI and what I model to young women in my own life. I regularly post links to those who critique me on my own website. But I do struggle with this and wanted to let you know.

    Thanks for your time and consideration.

    Rachel Simmons