So you don’t have a girls group in your youth club, but maybe you want to set one up, or maybe you want to make the ‘girls night’ at the club a little bit more exciting than just hair and nails sessions… what do you do?
Check out our handy hints and tips below:
· Talk to the young women you work with and the ones who don’t come, find out what they want from young women’s sessions/ groups
· Start where young women are at and their interests…and then offer new challenges
· Take notice of where the girls are and what they are doing
· Especially talk to young women who don’t ‘fit in’ with mainstream ‘girliness’
· Explain to managers how it fits into the 5 outcomes of Every Child Matters or the latest Local Authority plan or whatever plan your organisations work towards…this will add weight to your case
· Gender Duty…ensuring gender equality …where government funded organisations have to prove they serve all genders equally… this is the law now- what is your youth service / organisation doing about it?
· Use success stories that you know about locally or nationally, e.g. the Stockport Young Women’s Forum did a great resource called ‘femail’ magazine
· Don’t do it on you own…try out ideas with other workers first or with women friends… and then try them with the young women … contact your local youth and community work course at your nearest college or university and ask them for help.
· Drip, drip, drip, technique…keep on arguing for girls work- making the argument again and again will re-enforce the need for it and will mean your arguments get better each time!
· Do fun easy activities to start things off
· Try a ‘girls night’ and specific projects (e.g. around International Women’s Day – 8th March each year)
· Treats and events for the girls will be a good incentive for them to come and make sure you always reward involvement (not just with things, but also with plenty of praise!)
· Highlight obvious injustices in most youth clubs…e.g. who uses the pool table/ the music equipment? What about ‘a woman’s right to cues’? Let the girls have the football pitch during peak times!
· Push gently for things girls enjoy… but things you would never have thought of doing…e.g. fixing a car, or flying lessons!
· Know your stuff- read the paper, good books like ‘taught not caught’ and our own book ‘the exciting life of being a woman’ – keep aware of resources like the GEM project and feminist webs and local women’s groups
· There IS money out there to do the work, and what better way of encouraging the women to be entrepreneurial than getting them hooked in to their local funding opportunities/ applying for pots of money from places like the Lottery and Comic Relief and also doning community fundraising like bag packing! And remember- all the work you do can be easily accredited too!
Resources that can help you:
Intro to feminism (2 hr session)
What is sexism (handout for the above session)
Definition of words (generated by young women)
Gender Audit example