Founded by Dr. Amy Rutstein-Riley in 2008, The Girlhood Project has impacted more than 650 girls from the Greater Boston area and over 200 college students from Lesley University. This service learning course provides college students with a unique opportunity to learn girlhood theory and apply feminist praxis in a co-constructed girls' group model.
The Girlhood Project meets for nine weeks on Lesley's campus each spring. Lesley partners with local after-school programs and school districts to engage middle school and high school age groups and college students in girls' groups to examine critical media literacy, identity exploration, and Positive Youth Development in a girl-centered model. The impact of The Girlhood Project is wide-reaching.
The Girlhood Project seeks to validate and uplift girls’ lived experiences through co-construction and feminist group process. TGP fosters the development of Feminist Leadership, Voice, Critical Consciousness, and Community Activism in our participants.
As girls and girl-identifying individuals navigate adolescence, they can encounter a number of challenges that threaten their power and social and emotional wellbeing. Girls are subjected to a constellation of negative messages from the media, unfair treatment in schools, and early sexualization. These challenges are even more profound for girl-identifying individuals who are marginalized due to their race, class, and gender identities. These factors impact can girls’ opportunities for individual success.
The Girlhood Project creates a co-constructed learning community where we engage in intergenerational, intersectional feminist group process. We use critical media literacy as an entry point for self-exploration. We examine new ways of teaching, learning, and being in relationship with youth.