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Tweens as Technofeminists

Exploring Girlhood Identity in Technology Camp

Jen England and Robert Cannella

In this article we discuss how the Girlhood Remixed Technology Camp (GRTC) empowers tween girls to challenge sexist and misogynistic media portrayals of girlhood by constructing their own digital identities. Drawing from campers’ projects and blogs, we foreground two important outcomes of the camp: the development of technological, critical, and rhetorical literacies as girls pursued their own technology-related goals; and the crafting of powerful, positive articulations of girlhood through girls’ production of new media and technologies. We conclude with further considerations for the development of girls’ technology camps.

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Girmay Medhin and Annabel Erulkar

There is increased consensus on the role of adolescent girls in reaching development goals but few programs for girls have been rigorously evaluated. In Ethiopia, Biruh Tesfa (Bright Future, in Amharic) mobilizes out-of-school girls into safe space groups led by mentors. Girls receive training in literacy and life skills, and they are given vouchers for medical services. A longitudinal study was conducted to measure changes in girls’ learning outcomes and their use of health services. After adjusting for background factors, we found that girls who had never attended school in the project site had significantly higher literacy scores than did control girls. At endline, girls in the project site were 1.6 times more likely to have used a health service in the past six months than those in the control site. Girls-only safe spaces programs can be effective at improving literacy and health-seeking behavior among the most marginalized girls who otherwise lack educational opportunities and access to services.

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Mohamed Assaf and Kate Clanchy

Five poems written by Mohamed Assaf (a young Syrian boy who currently lives in Oxford with his family and studies at Oxford Spires Academy) under the mentorship of the poet Kate Clanchy. The introduction and poems themselves offer a reflection on Mohamed’s old and new place(s) in the world, and the significance of writing as a way of responding to, and resisting, “refugeedom.”

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Laurel Hart, Pamela Lamb and Joshua Cader

Effectively engaging with technologies of nonviolence for girls and young women requires attention to systemic, symbolic, and everyday forms of violence online and offline, as well as to how power is broadly manifest. We draw from three different interdisciplinary perspectives and critical reflections to consider networked technologies and online communities in relation to nonviolence. We explore mentorship and subversive education through Neal Stephenson’s 1995 novel, The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, identity politics on Facebook in a reflective study of digital citizenship for queer girl visibility, and online grassroots community solutions in considering the social potential of online forums and solutions for online harassment. Our varied perspectives encounter contradictions, such as the need for access to and protection from diverse online communities, as a necessary consideration for developing policy and creating networked and community-based technologies of nonviolence. We conclude with five recommendations in a call to action.