Girls for Gender Equity

Signatory: Joanne N. Smith: Founder/ Executive Director

Joined: December 2015

Contact: Joanne N. Smith: Founder/ Executive Director

Social Media

Girls for Gender Equity executive director, Joanne Smith serves as Co-Chair of the New York City Council’s Young Women’s Initiative (YWI), the nation’s first intergenerational, participatory governance process to center the needs and voices of cis and trans young women and gender nonconforming young people of color ages 12-24. Community advocates, policy experts and the Young Women’s Advisory Council were charged with determining the needs for programming, policy change, data collection, and areas for long-term research that would improve the lives of cisgender and transgender young women of color and gender nonconforming young people in the city of New York.

The crux of the Initiative is centered on the lived experiences of young women and girls of color navigating the systemic racist and sexist policies and practices of institutions, and the absence of trauma-informed approaches. Girls for Gender Equity (GGE), collaborated with community leaders, organizers and allies from the five boroughs of NYC to recruit 23 young people as the Young Women’s Advisory Council (YWAC). GGE also published a YWAC report, national webinar and mapping tool. In April, GGE announced a nationwide YWI tour at the Know Her Truths conference hosted by the Anna Julia Cooper Center.

GGE conducted participatory action research with over 100 young women of color and LGBQ/GNCT youth of color in NYC discussing how they experience school pushout and envision the school that they deserve. The research led to the School Girls Deserve campaign and based on the research findings GGE is developing a policy book. The research findings were shared publicly in October during National School Pushout Week of the Dignity in Schools Campaign. GGE is also a founding steering committee member of the national Black Girl Movement conference hosted at Columbia University.