Girls Incorporated® was founded in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War. Across the decades, we adapted to meet the specific environmental challenges facing girls and young women, always working in partnership with schools and communities, and guided by our founders’ fundamental belief in the inherent potential of each girl. Woven into those early girls’ clubs are the same core values of Girls Inc. today: the importance of creating a safe gathering place for girls to learn and to share in a sisterhood, and a strong premise that each girl can develop her own capacities, self-confidence, and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.
LOCAL PNW HISTORY
Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest has been operating in Portland since 1998, Southwest Washington since 2017, and Seattle since 2018. We are a regional and financially independent affiliate of the national organization, Girls Inc., the nation’s leading voice for girls. Girls Inc. provides 90+ affiliate organizations across the U.S. and Canada with research-based programs, development, training, and advocacy support.
Further, Girls Inc. PNW recognizes the unique challenges that girls face and is committed to providing programming that helps compensate for these gender inequalities. That being said, we were founded at a time when our society’s general understanding of gender was limited. In recent years, our organization’s awareness and policies have changed. Today, we welcome all youth who experience gender-based barriers, including cisgender girls, transgender girls, gender-expansive or nonbinary youth, intersex youth, and youth who are questioning or unsure of their gender identity.
This position applies to new Girls Inc. PNW enrollees as well as youth already enrolled in our programs. Girls Inc. PNW staff respects a young person’s wishes to be called by a certain name and/or gender pronoun. We recognize that youth who identify as LGBTQIA or who are exploring their sexual orientation and/or gender identity need to know that Girls Inc. PNW is a safe space where they can be themselves and not worry about experiencing hurtful treatment from others.
Girls Inc. Bill of rights
With a continued commitment and dedication to making a measurable and lasting difference, Girls Inc. PNW is a strong advocate for youth and honors the Girls Inc. Girls Bill of Rights.
Girls have the right to be themselves and to resist stereotypes.
Girls have the right to express themselves with originality and enthusiasm.
Girls have the right to take risks, to strive freely, and to take pride in success.
Girls have the right to accept and appreciate their bodies.
Girls have the right to have confidence in themselves and to be safe in the world.
Girls have the right to prepare for interesting work and economic independence.
Some things I like about myself are I’m creative, I understand school and love it, and I love making a difference in the world.
Middle School Youth, Mind and Body Activity