Over a thousand girls and parents will gather in Austin this Saturday, November 3rd for the fifth annual We Are Girls Conference hosted by local nonprofit (and former Bloggin’ Mama Social beneficiary) GENaustin, The Girls Empowerment Network. The all-day conference is headlined by keynote speaker Dr. Robyn Silverman, author of Good Girls Don’t Get Fat, and includes activities and workshops that are just for girls (grades 5-12), just for parents and for both. Other keynotes include Fran Harris, author of Girls Who Mean Business, and Adrien Paczosa, The Food Teacher. GENaustin offers Spanish translation for all keynotes. Online registration and scholarships are available.
This full day of activities, workshops and speakers helps girls improve body image and self-esteem, prevent bullying, build friendships, express creativity, understand sexuality, and be safe in a world that’s increasingly connected. While girls attend these sessions, parents may attend workshops especially for them, led by experts on teen development and parenting.
“The We Are Girls Conference extends the environment and community that our GENaustin programs cultivate all-year round, which helps girls and parents face the challenges of girlhood,” says Julia Cuba, executive director of GENaustin. “We don’t dwell on the negative issues facing girls. We focus on the possibilities and potential in each girl and give her role models she can relate to, especially the support and community of other girls.”
Girls and parents also choose from over a dozen workshops led by Austin area businesses and community organizations such as Girlstart, Latinitas, Ballet Austin Butler Community School, Money U, Lifeworks and many others. Topics include how girls use social media, how to start businesses and manage money, how to cope with stress, how to exercise and make healthy choices, dating safety, the language of friendship, science and creativity, underage drinking and more.
Austin middle school student Solana O. has attended with her mom for the last three years and finds something new and inspiring every year.
“No one teaches you about friendship in school. We Are Girls does that,” Solana says. “My favorite workshops are where we get to talk to women about their careers. Before that workshop, I didn’t know women in real life who were detectives or part of the police, and I could never talk to them and hear their experiences. You learn that girls are afraid to go into fields where men dominate, but that even though it’s hard, women can make it.”
In two workshops especially for parents, Barb Steinberg, LMSW addresses how to empower girls to withstand the pressures of being perfect and how to talk to teens about sex.
“We Are Girls is designed especially for girls and the adults who care about them,” says Cuba. “We know that parents and daughters leave feeling inspired, connected and empowered.”