The Girls Leadership Institute

Educator, Rachel Simmons, Author of Odd Girl Out, discusses the Girls Leadership Institute and raising confident girls.
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The Girls Leadership Institute

Girls Leadership Institute is a non-profit that I co-founded, to give girls the skills to know who they are and what they stand for and how to express it so that they can create change in their world. And to me, what that really means is how do we help girls speak their hearts and minds assertively? How do we help them know themselves, so that in this day and age, when girls are told to be and do so many things that might not be real for them? How do we help girls hang on to what they think and feel what their values are? And it also means helping girls find healthy relationships. Because we believe, at GLI, that relationships are a powerful classroom for leadership. So that, if you can tell your friend, Hey stop hogging the swing set, I want you to give me time to sit here too, you are cultivating the muscles you’re going to need to advocate for yourself 10, 15 years down the line. And we’ll say to high school students, if you can tell your roommate, to turn down the music, you’re going to learn how to ask for a raise some day; because it really all comes down to the muscles that we all use, the skills that we need to express ourselves, to advocate for ourselves; and relationships can be the place where we learn how to do that. GLI works with parents and daughters very often through workshops that give parents, as well as the girls, the skills to advocate for themselves. Because when parents know how to recognize their feelings and express themselves they model the behavior for their daughters. But they also have the tools to help their daughters when they come home and don’t know how to manage a problem. Resilience is a real problem with kids-girls and boys these days. We’re noticing that kids have a harder time solving their own problems, and this is resulting in enormous stress and challenge once they hit adolescence. And so, at GLI, we work with parents, to help their daughters solve problems by asking them the question, “what do you want to do about this?” when they have a problem. Not to step in and fix it right away, but to use your daughter’s social challenges as an opportunity to work together and to make it a learning experience for your daughter.

Educator, Rachel Simmons, Author of Odd Girl Out, discusses the Girls Leadership Institute and raising confident girls.


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Rachel Simmons

Author & Educator

Rachel Simmons is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, and The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence. As an educator, Rachel works internationally to empower young women to be more authentic, assertive and self-aware.

Rachel is a Vassar graduate and Rhodes Scholar from New York. The co-founder of the Girls Leadership Institute, she is an experienced curriculum writer and educator who works with schools and organizations around the world. She currently develops leadership programs for undergraduate women at the Center for Work and Life at Smith College. She has previously worked as a classroom teacher in Massachusetts and South Africa.

Rachel was the host of the recent PBS television special, “A Girl’s Life,” and is a contributing writer and advice columnist for Teen Vogue.

Rachel has appeared on Oprah and the Today show, and appears regularly in the national me- dia. Odd Girl Out was adapted into a highly acclaimed Lifetime television movie. Rachel lives in western Massachusetts with her daughter and West Highland Terrier, Rosie, who is currently taking private workshops with Rachel to learn how to stop bullying other dogs.

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