23 Organizations that Support Girls

International Day of the Girl is on October 11 each year. The holiday was started in 2012 by the United Nations. According to the United Nations, "The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.” This year’s theme is GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable. For more background on the holiday, you can visit https://www.un.org/en/events/girlchild/.

While the International Day of the Girl has passed this year, it's never a bad time to support female empowerment. My article is about non-profit organizations that strive to empower and support girls. While some of these groups work on problems besides sexism, all of them include the empowerment of girls and/or young women in their mission. 

This list is intersectional; it features organizations that cater to a wide range of girls and seek to solve a wide range of the issues that girls face around the world. Organizations in this list support girls in STEM, menstruation equity, survivors of sexual harm, girls in sports, addressing self-esteem issues, minimizing the sexualization and objectification of women, positive representation of women in the media and equal access to education. Some organizations focus on a variety of issues. Some organizations work at the intersection of different forms of discrimination, such as gender and racism. Some organizations seek to empower women as well as girls, but all of them include girls as part of their focus. Organizations have locations all over the US; some, such as UN Women, are international. 

  1. In 1994, 37% of computer scientists were women. By 2017, that number fell to 24%. The biggest decrease in female participation in computer science happens between the ages of 13 and 17. Girls Who Code offers summer coding lessons and free after-school clubs to middle and high school girls around the United States. These programs aim to inspire a love of coding and help girls learn how to code. This is especially important in communities where girls are not typically as supported. 50% of GWC students are low-income students or girls of color. GWC makes an impact! Alumni of their programs go into computing fields at the college level at 15 times the national average!

  2. Kode With Klossy offers 13-18-year-old girls two-week coding intensives over the summer. The courses are taught around the country and they’re FREE! Kode with Klossy reports that 84.4% of participants have an increased interest in STEM fields after completing the course and even more students gain confidence in their computing abilities. Kode With Klossy has appeared in The New York Times, Vogue, TeenVogue, The Wall Street Journal, NBC News, ABC News, Forbes, and more. If you’re in high school or college, you may be eligible to teach Kode With Klossy students.

  3. Black Girls Code offers computer science classes, workshops and hackathons to girls between the ages of 7 and 17 around the country and in South Africa. Their goal is to train 1 million girls in coding by 2040. So far, they’ve trained 3,000 students since their founding in 2011! They partner with MIT to offer specialized workshops in Boston. They’ve been featured in NPR, The Independent, NY Daily News, Fortune, USA Today, the Huffington Post and more!

  4. NOW is an intersectional organization that champions the success and empowerment of all women, regardless of race, age or class. They focus on women’s health issues (such as reproductive rights), ending gender-based violence and discrimination against women and girls of color and in the LGBTQIA+ community. As the largest grassroots feminist organization in the country, they have hundreds of chapters and hundreds of thousands of members around the United States. They mobilize feminists and hold rallies, workshops, conversations, and lobby for women’s rights. NOW organized the largest mass action of any kind in American history in 2004, and the largest women’s rights demonstration ever in 1992, both for the March for Women’s Lives in DC.

  5. WEI serves to empower women and girls with disabilities and differences. They focus on media representation, body image, reproductive and sexual health/rights, violence against women, women in law and much more. Supporters can donate to the organization directly or through Amazon Smile, a program that donates to nonprofits every time you shop on Amazon.

  6. 6. PERIOD

    PERIOD was founded in 2014 by current Harvard College student Nadya Okamoto and her friend. After struggling with homelessness as a high schooler, Nadya learned about a little-known problem that too many homeless people struggle with: finding period products. If you’re forced to choose between food and sanitary items, most people will choose food. Shelters rarely have the funds to buy their own products, forcing residents to use things like cotton balls, socks, or cardboard as personal hygiene items. PERIOD collects these products and donates them to shelters. With over 400 youth-led chapters in colleges and high schools around the country (at least one chapter in every state!) and in more than 29 other countries, it’s easy to get involved! They’ve appeared in The Washington Post, Bustle, Elle, TeenVogue, Vox, NBC News and more. 

  7. Through a network of chapters that spans 30 states and 5 countries, I Support the Girls collects menstrual products, bras and underwear for those who are unable to access them - meaning, the homeless, those in sex trafficking, refugees, and those displaced by natural disasters. Teen girls skip school for 3 to 5 days a month because they are ashamed that they can’t afford or access menstrual products. Such products are essential to maintaining one’s health and dignity. By providing them, I Support the Girls empowers those in need. Wearing an ill-fitting or old bra may cause health problems. From their website: “The homeless population in the U.S. is rising and women are the fastest-growing segment of that population. Dignity does not take vacations. Neither do we.” They’ve donated more than 3 million products since their founding in 2015 and have appeared in Cosmopolitan, NPR, The Washington Post, TeenVogue, Women’s World, Marie Claire, and much more. 

     

  8. DoSomething.org is an online network connecting youth activists all over the US and in 130 other countries to movements and social issues they care about. They’ve mobilized 5.5 million people and cover a wide variety of problems. Focusing on their work for women and girls, members have donated almost 600,000 menstrual products to homeless shelters. DoSomething.org hosts campaigns to reduce the gendered Wikipedia editor gap (which is abysmal), to increase accurate female representation in STEM fields and in the media, de-sexualize ads featuring women and to educate people on the conditions women face in the workplace globally. Search for ‘girls’ or ‘women’ on their website to find their feminist projects.

  9. 9. MeToo

    Tarana Burke founded the MeToo movement in 2006 with the goal of helping women and girls of color (especially African-American ones) and from low-income backgrounds heal from sexual violence. Since then, the #MeToo hashtag has been used on and off social media tens of millions of times, underscoring how widespread sexual harm is in our society and spurring a global conversation around sexual assault, rape and harassment. The movement has grown to include all survivors of sexual harm.

  10. Girls, Inc provides girls with a supportive, female environment and resources to inspire them to succeed and reach their dreams. According to Girls, Inc’s YouTube channel, 1/6 girls will not finish high school and 78% of girls do not like their bodies. Further, only 62% of American girls graduate from college, but 97% of Girls, Inc girls do.

  11. According to their website, 130 million girls around the world are kept out of school and are therefore not able to exercise their right to an education. She’s the First has chapters all over the world that sell baked goods and donate the money to help these girls get into and stay in school. Most of these students are the first in their family to graduate from high school or college. She’s the First has appeared in theSkimm, Forbes, Marie Claire and more.

  12. 12. Girl Up

    25% of girls around the world have endured physical violence by the age of 15. More than 50% of girls drop out of school before sixth grade in some countries. For those in developing countries, education can translate to a safe environment, an alternative to a long workday, and a job that may be impossible otherwise. Almost 14 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth annually, and many of these girls are unable to access adequate health care. Worldwide, 50% of all sexual assaults are against girls 15 years old or younger. Since the organization's founding in 2010, it's worked all over the world to help more than 34,000 girls overcome these barriers. Additionally, they provide leadership training that gives girls the resources necessary to drive social change. Girl Up is affiliated with the United Nations. 

  13. Girls in the Game provides girls with supportive, all-female sports programs after school and over the summer with the goal of strengthening a sense of confidence and leadership. Girls in the Game has locations in Illinois, Maryland, and Texas and has appeared in the Huffington Post and the Chicago Sun-Times.

  14. The Women’s Sports Foundation was founded by tennis legend Billie Jean King and works in legal and school systems to ensure that all girls have access to athletic teams. In 1972, 1 in 27 girls participated in high school varsity sports. By 2006, that number had risen to 2 out of every 5 girls. The Foundation supports the legislation that made this possible and works to increase that number even further. The Foundation’s advocacy translates to increased educational scholarships for female student-athletes in the United States, from $100,000 in 1972 to $1.8 million today

  15. 15. Additional Organizations

    15. Malala Fund - https://www.malala.org/

    16. Black Girls Rock! - https://blackgirlsrock.com/

    17. UN Women - https://www.unwomen.org/en 

    18. Pretty Brown Girl - https://prettybrowngirl.com/

    19. Center for Native American Youth - http://www.cnay.org/

    20. Global Fund for Women - https://www.globalfundforwomen.org/

    21. Human Rights Campaign - https://www.hrc.org/

    22. Jewish Women’s Archive - https://jwa.org/

    23. Women’s Refugee Commission - https://www.womensrefugeecommission.org/