On Wednesday, the 8th Annual Blueprint for Gender Equity in Education Conference titled Confidence and Competence-Becoming Your Best Self was held at SUNY Stony Brook. This conference is sponsored by the Long Island Fund for Women and Girls, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), SUNY Stony Brook and others. It was attended by 250 middle and high school girls and adults.
The day began with an Interactive Panel Discussion”Been There Wish I’d Known That…Strategies for Becoming Your Best You”. The panelists were independent young women (18-22) who were developing their careers. One was a union carpenter. They all wanted eventually own their own businesses.
There were nine adult workshops. The two for students were “10 Things Every HS Student Should Know About Life After High School” was hilarious and effective in showing a glimpse of what can or could be. “What Does Leadership Look Like?” was presented by girls from the Sadie Nash Leadership Project. It was interactive and presented a compelling picture.
The Keynote presentation at lunchtime was “Packaging Girlhood-Don’t Buy It” was a frightening presentation with visuals of how sex is being marketed to 5 year olds and up. Passive images of girls were shown. Even Dora the Explorer is in reruns and now has a line of mini kitchen and home products, as well as, Princess wear. This Princess concept, complete with makeup and lotions, is not the way we thought advertizers would be reaching little girls. Thiis is happening to American Girls products too.
The Conference was well received by all who attended. I was pleased to have been on the committee for all these eight years representing AAUW. This conference reinforced AAUW’s mission of advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research.