Empowering All Girls- Young Women Lead Conference September 24-25, 2020


Dr. David J. Childs
Northern Kentucky University

There is still much work to be done in the area of women’s studies and women’s rights. Society has continued to treat women as second class citizens. And often the struggles of women are compounded when they are from a minoritized group and of a low socioeconomic background. In this way, the glass ceiling is real for women and minorities. The US education system has long been complicit in perpetuating the inequality of women. Social studies educators as well as textbooks publishers have largely omitted the discussion of women in history, as well as the study of their many accomplishments. In many classrooms even today, serious discussions of women are an afterthought. Thus, it is very important to provide opportunities that empower women and to let girls know that opportunities are available for them as well. Girls today need as much inspiration and encouragement as possible. That is just what conference coordinator Dr. Kimberly Clayton-Code has set out to do with the non-profit Young Women Lead. There is an upcoming virtual conference September 24-25, 2020 and folks can register here.

The conference website states that “High school girls and their chaperones are invited to join us for this minds-on, interactive virtual conference designed to inspire these young women to believe in their qualities and strengths, and to challenge them to believe in a higher level of personal growth and development. This year’s conference will feature award-winning presenters Julie Marie Carrier, Maryam Rehman, Nivaal Rehman, and Monique Coleman.”

Links for further Information:
Young Women Lead Upcoming Conference Details
Mission and History of Young Women Lead

Democracy and Me Articles as a Part of Women’s History Series
Part One- A History of Women’s Right to Vote and Other Teaching Resources

Part Two (Women’s Rights)- Intersectionality, Race and Gender: Understanding how Race and Socioeconomics affect Women’s Life Experiences

Part Three (Women’s Rights)- The Womanist Tradition and Domestic Workers in the Early Twentieth Century US

Part Four (Women’s Rights) – Bringing Awareness to Violence Against Native American Women

Part Five (Women’s Rights) – Can we Talk About this in Class: Unpacking Some Complexities of the Me Too Movement


  1. As someone that spent a good amount of time studying this issue when working on their bachelor’s degree, I can definitely agree with the idea that women are underrepresented and discussed in schools. In some cases this may be intentional, but I feel like for a lot of teachers they’re simply teaching from the book rather than researching for themselves. Textbooks in our school system have a serious neglect for women. If we want to have more women being taught about in history then I feel like the textbooks would be a good place to start.

  2. I agree with the article that women’s rights still need a lot of work and more recognition in our worlds history. I have definitely seen how education has lacked in the discussions of women’s accomplishments and roles in the past. I went to Notre Dame Academy, an all-girl high school, so the staff and education were always working towards empowering women. My education through Notre Dame helped me realize my own qualities and abilities to grow as a young women. I sadly don’t remember in elementary school any discussions of women in our history. Thank you including the Young Women Lead link to register towards that virtual conference to inspire female high schoolers to believe in themselves and see their own strengths. That is an awesome conference!

  3. I find this topic interesting because as I understand that there is still quite a bit of work to do on behalf of women’s rights, I personally do not feel an issue to the topic. I understand that women don’t get paid as much as men do out in the field, women are not talked about nearly as often as men in history books and their stories are not told. I get that completely and I do agree that it needs to change. But I personally do not feel attacked as a woman for not having enough rights. I am able to vote, I can go out to the grocery or out with friends and dress however I please, and I do not have a curfew to be back home because I am a woman. I feel that I have plenty of rights. The fact that I get paid less than men and women are not discussed as often in history, that just doesn’t bother me.

  4. This article talks about the reality of the glass ceiling for women and minorities and the importance of empowering young women of all ages. It is shocking to me how many stories about women throughout history have just been left out of our classrooms. We need to hold our education system accountable for discussing women’s rights and accomplishments throughout history. I think it is extremely important for strong women to be represented in all areas of the media. Women of different backgrounds, color and size – only we can rewrite history by creating a better future for ourselves and the future generation.

  5. The conference mentioned in this article seems like an amazing and empowering, as well as a great opportunity. I like how you mentioned that not only are women stuck by the glass ceiling but how it affects women who are minorities even further, how awful and disheartening. The mention of history textbooks omitting women from the content is also very disheartening and as a nation, we need to do better concerning everything discussed in this article.

  6. Dr. Childs,

    I agree with your statement that there is still much work to be done in the area of women’s studies and women’s rights. Growing up, I do not remember women’s studies being an important topic in my social studies class. Usually men have been the ones we have spent much time studying about. A new term that I gained from this post is glass ceiling, which is the the unofficialy acknowledged barrier to advancement in a profession, especially affecting women and members of minorities. A few weeks ago, I found a website that allowed you to learn the history of many different ladies. The website was through the National Women’s History Museum. I hope that one day women will not be considered as second class citizens. Women have done so much for this country, and they deserve to be recognized and celebrated.

  7. We have come a very long way with Woman’s Rights. However, there is still room for improvement like there is for everything else. And this goes for the whole world, not just America. There are some countries that are way behind us. This article reminds me of when a woman ran for president. Political parties aside, that was a huge milestone even if she didn’t win. A woman actually ran for president, which would have probably not been possible two decades ago. I am glad that this topic is being talked about while I am still young. Growing up, society always taught me that men are the strong ones. Men are the smart ones. And men are the ones who support the family with their salaries. While the job of the woman is to clean the house, do the laundry, cook dinner, pick up the kids from school, etc. While this is what society was telling me was the “norm,” my reality in my own home was backwards. My mom worked the long hours while my dad took care of me, and I saw absolutely nothing wrong with that. We should stop holding males and females to a standard, and just let them do whatever is ideal for their situation(s) and/or lives. I believe that empowering females at a young age will help with their development of confidence and self image as adults.

  8. I agree with this article and that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in the area of women’s studies and women’s rights. I didn’t learn much about women’s rights or women related issues, until I was in high school and took the class women’s issues as an elective. I enjoyed that class and did learn a lot related to women’s issues in the past and present, but that shouldn’t have to be an elective for me to learn about these issues, it should be better integrated into daily curriculum. I hope someday soon society changes its views on women and other minority groups and they get proper representation everywhere. We have made a lot of progress with women’s rights, but we still have a lot of work to do to make things truly equal.
    I think this conference is a wonderful thing for young girls to have the opportunity to attend. Girls self esteem drops around the age of when they hit puberty, and growing up in a sexist society will affect how young girls view themselves/other girls. It is important to empower young girls to see the good qualities they have and to build their leadership skills so they can make positive change in the future. It is important for young girls to know that their voice is powerful and that there is more to them than just what they look like.

  9. I think this is a really interesting topic. I think it’s important for women to be taught about equally in schools yet their inclusion in the curriculum is often an afterthought. I want the young girls in my future classroom to learn about their history just as much as the boys do. Many curriculums leave women out entirely or heavily trivialize their contributions.
    I think the young women conference will be a very helpful and empowering experience for many young women. I look forward to more opportunities like this appearing for young women.

  10. I love this article! I think women’s rights have come a long way but there is also still flaws and things that need changed. When I was in school, I never learned about women’s rights except for maybe the bare minimum, I had to learn things myself. I love the idea of starting this with young girls. Empowering women at a young age will help them grow up knowing what is right and wrong and to give them resources.
    I had Dr. Kimberly Clayton-Code as a professor and it’s awesome to see the conference that she will be hosting and the impact it will have on the community.

  11. I was happy to read an article that focused on women’s contributions especially in history. As a young woman, I didn’t feel confident until I attended my all girl’s high school. Our motto was, “Women making a difference.” I felt so empowered by that statement even as a young teen unsure of who I truly was. I completely agree that we need to discuss women’s history more. One of the most interesting classes I took in high school was “Women in America.” This class showed the powerful influence women had in American history from colonial times and through World War II. During that time period women contributed greatly to society by fighting for our right to vote, have real jobs, and own property. I believe all schools should require a class like “Women in America” or fit these topics into the curriculum. It’s important that we discuss the history of women and minorities as much as the male history in America.

  12. I agree with your article, in that women and other minorities have not been recognized for all that they have accomplished throughout the many, many years in history. I never really thought about it, but in reality most history book we read and documentaries we see are highlighting some male, whom is typically white. I am sure today we still do not know of the many accomplishments that women and other minorities. have accomplished in the past. As well as, I am sure that some accomplishments that have been seen done by men, were actually stolen from women and/or other minorities. Just last week in Dr. Child’s EDU-312-001 class, one of my peers presented a lesson to where they highlighted a women whom may or may have not helped during a war. My peers explained as if it was seen as a myth, when in reality it was very likely that it did occur by a women. It amazes me how little knowledge in history that we know about women and other minority groups. I know that once I am teaching, I will for sure make a point in teaching the importance of women and minorities rights, and accomplishments throughout history.

  13. I definitely agree with the statement that women’s history has not been taught. Looking back to my time in public school, there was no teacher that put a real focus on women’s history or their impact. The only teacher I had that ever really tried to incorporate this impact came in my very last year of history classes. This was an AP class and I can see where this focus could be left out in a course that was not as in depth. Even in college, there was not a huge emphasis on women’s history in a non-women’s history course. As teachers, we need to do a better job at being more inclusive and teaching all history.

  14. I enjoyed this article a lot. It really brings to light an issue that is rarely addressed- the lack of education on women’s history. In my K-12 experience, there was never a time that I felt like a woman’s story was taught for more than a mere moment in passing. As teachers, it is our job to create reflections for our students to identify with. Little girls should be shown strong women who’ve positively impacted the world; this will provide an example of the unlimited potential they might have if we just inspire them. It is so important, in today’s society, that young women get as many opportunities to be exposed to growth opportunities.

  15. I agree with the idea that there is still much to be done in the area of women rights in our modern day, especially in the classroom. Nowadays people are to quick to assume that women rights has come as far as possible. The facts however, are that this is not the case. It is important to teach not only the girls, but also the boys about women studies and rights. As educators, we need to keep it on our radar as something of value to teach our students since any topic is only as important to students as we, the teacher, make it in the classroom.

  16. I agree that there is much still to accomplish in women’s rights. I think as teachers, we need to keep this on our minds while teaching social studies. We need to make our students think about equality and what it really looks like.

  17. This is an amazing article pointing out some important points that future educators should strive to include in their classroom. I was honestly inspired as I read, “Social studies educators as well as textbooks publishers have largely omitted the discussion of women in history, as well as the study of their many accomplishments. In many classrooms even today, serious discussions of women are an afterthought. Thus, it is very important to provide opportunities that empower women and to let girls know that opportunities are available for them as well. Girls today need as much inspiration and encouragement as possible”. I agree strongly with the statement and it isB one of the main purposes that I decided to become a social studies teacher myself. I aspire to be that teacher in the classroom that makes everyone feel included as well as make history interesting to learn and teach what is important such as women in history.

  18. Democracy and Me Response #3 (Empowering All Girls)
    The topic of this article is something that I feel very strongly about, the article does a wonderful job of addressing an issue that is very much still alive. The article also supplied some amazing resources about the inequality of women, women’s empowerment, and current events/organizations that are fighting for women. Just 100 years ago the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified. 100 years may seem like a long time but in terms of history it is a blink of an eye. Think about it, there are still people alive today who are 100 years old; there are women alive today who lived in a time (although they were children) when women did not have the basic right to vote in our country. Dating all the way back to 1848 with the first women’s right convention, women have been fighting for equal rights of education and professional opportunities, today we are still seeing this battle take place. (www.archives.gov)
    Yes, many things have gotten better since 1848, women can vote, chose their career paths, have equal opportunities for education, and they can even become the president. The problem is, even though they have the opportunity to do all of these things, the opportunities at hand are still not equal. We see wage differences, omitting of women’s history (as mentioned in the article), and a large underrepresentation of women in government. Without women the world could not go on, there not only has to be a continuous push for change, but action being taken that eliminates gender gaps and gives women the equal empowerment they deserve. This article once again does a great job addressing many of the saddening issues women face, but it also gives hope for a brighter future and ways we can accomplish this, specifically in the the education field.

  19. From a teaching perspective, it is undeniable that the lack of female representation is felt. Often times, lessons will include notable contributions, but these will be unceremoniously tacked on to the end of a lecture, their presence often relegated to a footnote or a bit of trivia rather than an important part of history. It is not only imperative to mention these accomplishments, but to actually develop upon them and dedicate time to outline the stories of women throughout history. Whether intentionally or not, historical texts utilized in schools often omit or only sparingly include the influential roles played by women. Doing so can reinforce this concept that the female gender is somehow inferior or does not deserve the same credit as men, considering that their achievements are kept in their shadow. I believe this conference is a wonderful idea in that is raises attention to a key issue and encourages the involvement of female students across the nation. It is always worth listening to and understanding the voice of both genders. Bringing more of the female story into history can not only assist in limiting negative perceptions on gender, but it can also engage women who can now identify with figures in history.

  20. I had the opportunity to attend Young Women’s Lead in high school and it was one of the most valuable experiences I had that year, as I would be off to college the following year. I feel as if every young woman should attend LEAD. The guest speaker that year had discussed the mental health of young women; we also went through different stations where there were several leading businesswomen in our tri-state area on a panel who discussed how they utilize their degree in their industry. We did a vision board activity and did several exercises as a whole, the point was to show that we women are not alone. While you do not get the full experience of attending different panels on campus; the fact that it is virtual allows more young women the opportunity to attend.

  21. The article was an excellent read and certainly shed light on one of the greatest overshadowed issues surrounding our secondary education system. It is imperative that all students (of all races, genders, creeds and cultures) are offered a fair and equitable education. Groups such as Young Women’s Leads will hopefully, over the next several years, begin to grow in number across the U.S. so that all students may receive a proper education.

  22. This subject hits very close to home for me. As an athletic coach of predominately male sports, the underrepresentation of females has always been a problem. As a teacher, the fact that we do not teach more about historic women, such as Elenore Roosevelt is troubling to say the least. I hope in the future we can include every race/gender in Social Studies education.

  23. This article could not have been more true, but it is something that largely gets overlooked in society. For example, I personally did not think about the fact that women do not really get mentioned in American History. However, upon afterthought, I realized that this could not be further from the truth. This subconsciously perpetrates male dominance within our society even further.

  24. This article is very accurate in that women and their accomplishments are not discussed enough in our history classrooms. It would be so much more encouraging for young women to hear these things discussed but they are expected to be confident when the glass ceiling is still very much apparent in our society. I love the fact that there is a conference specifically for that purpose. As a woman I am excited to get to encourage young women within my classroom so that they know they have the power to be great within society too. I can make that difference for the young women I come into contact with.

  25. I also believe that women’s rights is a topic that needs to be more discussed and acknowledged. It is important to educate children in school about women just as much as they do men. Women’s right have definitely improved over the years, but we still need to make progress in this area. I love the idea of the Women’s Lead Conference for young women. This is a conference that I got to participate in when I was in high school and it was very eye opening and was such an empowering experience. 

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