Chalk Back

The Girl and Youth-Led Street Art Movement to #StopStreetHarassment

in Girlhood Studies
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  • 1 UN Girls Education Initiative, USA
  • | 2 Catcalls of NYC and the Chalk Back Movement, USA
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The Chalk Back movement that started in March 2016 is a rapidly growing collective of over 150 young activists from around the world. As part of a university class project, Sophie decided to collect experiences of street harassment, write them out verbatim with chalk on the streets where they occurred alongside the hashtag #stopstreetharassment, and post them on the Instagram account @catcallsofnyc. Two years later, the account gained popularity. Other catcallsof accounts opened in London, Amsterdam, Ottawa, Dhaka, Nairobi, Cairo, and Sydney. These accounts, discussed below, are just a few of those spanning 150 cities in 49 countries in 6 continents. We are two Chalk Back members—Natasha from Ottawa and Sophie from New York City—highlighting the risk, empowerment, and power dynamics of what we call chalking back by amplifying the voices of those doing this work around the world.

Contributor Notes

Natasha Harris-Harb (ORCID: 0000-0001-9416-5946), a young feminist activist and youth engagement advisor at the UN Girls Education Initiative, works to shift the power dynamics for youth to participate fully in the processes of achieving gender equality in and through education. She is the co-founder of @Catcallsofottawa, part of the global Chalk Back movement. Email:

Sophie Sandberg (ORCID: 0000-0003-4876-132X) is a gender justice activist, chalk artist, and founder of Catcalls of NYC and the Chalk Back movement. She is a fellow of the Vital Voices and Tresemme Leadership Incubator for young women. She is involved in local efforts to combat gender-based violence through public art, education, and events. Email:

Girlhood Studies

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