Young women in 2023 are no longer just entering important conversations about social justice, they are now leading them.
LiveGirl is a free leadership development, mentorship, and career readiness program designed to equip girls and young women in Connecticut with skills they need to thrive in our modern society.
LiveGirl acknowledges the systemic barriers that hold women and girls back. They prepare their girls with multiple opportunities such as leadership classes, confidence clubs, networking events, career training, mentoring and more.
“We are committed to the work of building a more equal, inclusive future,” Sheri West, CEO of LiveGirl, said. “I founded LiveGirl to pay it forward to the next generation of fierce, diverse leaders.”
LiveGirl is set up to prepare girls in grade 5 all the way to college for success. During middle school LiveGirl members are taught to “Lead Self” through multiple programming that builds self esteem, social emotional intelligence and empathy. These are the key building blocks of a confident and inclusive leader, according to LiveGirl.
In high school, the girls are taught to “Lead Others” which focuses on building skills such as public speaking, project management and advocacy. In high school the signature program is, “LiveGirl League” which is an 8-week program where professional mentors coach the members through launching a community impact project.
The final stage is college, where girls learn to “Lead in the workplace.” Members focus on career readiness skills such as obtaining internships that can help launch their careers.
“I wanted to make sure that girls and young women had the opportunity to build the necessary skills and had access to mentors, role models, and career-launching experiences,” West says. “We’re all aware that gender norms emerge early and that stereotypes plague our culture and workplaces. Women are underrepresented in our government and in positions of power and leadership.”
LiveGirl is creating a ripple effect where they are building confident, inclusive leaders who are then making positive impacts in their own communities.
As of last year, multiple student leaders from LiveGirl played a key role in advocating for and passing a menstrual equity bill in Connecticut and are now focusing their efforts on a bill that would allow refugees to qualify for in-state tuition.
“Unfortunately, we’ve taken a step back on reproductive health recently, and discrimination is still a struggle in the workplace,” West said. “We must all commit to doing what we can – mentorship, sponsorship, calling out gender bias and microaggressions in the workplace – so that we may collectively take a big step forward for gender equity.”