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Sight Unseen

Re-viewing Images of Girls' Education

Cathryn Magno and Jackie Kirk

In this article we discuss the ways in which images of girls are understood to represent broader international development discourses related to girls' education. This piece was originally written for the United Nations Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI), conceived with UNICEF out of their interest in determining whether images they produce accurately represent policies and processes they engage in on behalf of girls' education; that report was UNICEF's contribution to the UNGEI partnership. The premise that visual analysis contributes to the study of girlhood was reified in this study which revealed the many deep and sometimes conflicting meanings that diverse viewers place on images.

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Welcome to this inaugural issue of Girlhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal (GHS)

Claudia Mitchell, Jacqueline Reid-Walsh, and Jackie Kirk

It is a moment of collective memory work. The three of us—Claudia, Jacqui and Jackie—try to remember when and where the idea for a Girlhood Studies journal came from in the first place. We think that probably the precise moment (or event) was the “A New Girl Order: Young Women and the Future of Feminist Inquiry” Conference convened by Anita Harris and colleagues at Monash University and held at King’s College, London, from November 14 to 16 2001. Although we had individually attended conferences related to girls and girlhood, it was for the three of us the first time that we had been to an event that focused on girlhood in ways that went beyond disciplinary boundaries of, say, girls in science or girls in development. There was something quite different emerging—a new area that combined advocacy, interdisciplinarity, and of course the voices of girls themselves—and it somehow gave a new imperative to exploring girlhood in all its possible manifestations. That was 2001 and now it is 2008. It has taken us seven years to make Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal a reality with this inaugural issue. Now we try to remember why it took us so long, or what it was that gave us the kickstart to finally do it!