GirlGov, created by teen women for teen women, is designed to provide local girls with the opportunity to learn, first hand, about civics, government, philanthropy, community involvement, women’s history, and leadership. The program is open to all girls entering 9th to 12th grade who live in Pennsylvania. Past GirlGov participants are welcome to apply. There is no fee to participate.
Throughout the program year, GirlGov participants learn and implement new skills by participating in a variety of activities. Since 2009, GirlGov girls have:
- Traveled to Harrisburg annually to shadow state legislators and to advocate for policy changes to improve the lives of women and girls in their own communities – and across the state;
- Advocated for Sarah’s Bill (written by a GirlGov participant, to institute a Restraining Order law in PA – one of only 12 states that does not offer such protections);
- Met with and learned from local, state, and national women in political careers;
- Interned with local legislators’ district offices;
- Held bake sales to illustrate the wage gap on National Equal Pay Day; men were charged $1 per item while women were charged only 75¢;
- Organized Pittsburgh’s first International Day of the Girl Celebration in 2013 (and are currently planning Pittsburgh’s 2014 Celebration);
- Attended an invitation-only mentoring luncheon at the White House;
- Introduced amazing women (and men) to the community at WGF’s annual awards gala;
- Raised local awareness of the conflict in Syria;
- Advocated for reduced school bus emissions to school boards;
- Petitioned schools to include LGBTQ issues in teacher diversity training.
- Explored nonprofit and government career options;
- Met and heard from accomplished women working in and with government;
- Became (more) involved in community civics;
- Most of all — GirlGov is FUN!
WGF began programming for girls in 2005, serving twenty-four Allegheny County teens. While the group was small, they were certainly mighty! That first year, the girls launched their International Headline grabbing “Girlcott” of Abercrombie and Fitch for selling sexist t-shirts to teenage women, thereby launching WGF into the news spotlight and winning the girls their first advocacy victory. In 2009, the year-long GirlGov program was formalized with the help of the very girls it serves. To date GirlGov has trained nearly 500 young women from Southwest Pennsylvania to be our state’s next generation of leaders.
GirlGov is a program of the Women and Girls Foundation, and has been generously supported by the FISA Foundation, Grable Foundation, PNC, and UPMC.
- Top Ten Tips for Local Advocacy
- Top Ten Tips for Social Change
- Political links from WGF
- Recommended Reading list from ElectWomen Magazine
- Pennsylvania Center for Women, Politics, and Public Policy (PCWPPP) at Chatham University
- Pennsylvania Commission for Women
- League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania
- League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh
- Local Government Academy
- Women’s Law Project
- Watch video interviews from past GirlGov participants
- See some photos of GirlGov in action
- Read some news and articles about past Harrisburg trips, and view past trip photos.