By Nyesha Stone
Every few years Alverno College produces The Alverno Report: The Status of Girls in Wisconsin, which contains data detailing how the girls in our state are doing. This year’s 2018-2019 report showed a number of things, but the overall data showed Wisconsin girls are experiencing some troubling patterns, according to a press release.
The data shows what many of us already know, girls are more prone to things such as sex trafficking, bullying (including cyberbullying), abuse, depression and self-harming behaviors. According to the report, in 2017, most of the sex offenses committed were against girls, 4,501 female victims vs. 790 male victims. This is a troubling number, but the point of the report, which comes out every four years, is to pull the data together to bring awareness, said Jodi Eastberg the Executive Director of the Alverno College Research Center for Women and Girls.
“I care deeply about improving the lives of girls,” she said about the importance of doing these reports. “The more we can do to create healthy environments for girls and women, the better off we’ll be.”
By bringing awareness to these issues, Eastberg hopes this encourages policy makers, organizations, community leaders and individuals to help fix the issues are young women and girls are facing.
The report shows that girls are more likely to be bullied or abused than their male counterparts, and it also states that girls are more likely to drink alcohol and smoke weed.
And although all Wisconsin girls are more prone to these issues, girls of color are even more vulnerable. In Wisconsin, 47.4 percent of Black girls, or 1 in 5, are living in poverty, which be the cause behind the issues facing these young women.
According to Eastberg, “there are a lot of ways to improve these girls’ lives.”
Eastberg and her team decided to do something a little different this year, and are having their first annual Girls Summit, as a result of the report.
The summit is for girls in 5th grade and older. The event will start with a panel of girls discussing their experiences, then the event will break into smaller sessions. Eastberg is proud to announce their Keynote speaker: 14-year-old Marley Dias.
Dias is the of #1000BlackGirlBooks, which is an international movement to collect and donate children’s books that feature Black girls as the lead character. She’s also the author of Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You!, the former Editor in Residence of her own digital ‘zine Marley Mag on Elle.com, which has over 7 billion media impressions.
“Our hope is she inspires all of us to take action,” Eastberg said about Dias.
The first 200 people to sign up for the summit will get a free book written by Dias. But there is one thing that Eastberg wants to make clear about the report: the girls aren’t doing all bad.
The report states that teen pregnancy has declined, and the rate of smoking has declined. So, although it’s important to take notice of the bad things affecting our girls, just make sure to see the good things as well.
The Girls Summit will take place on March 23 from 8:30 am to 4:30 p.m. at Alverno College Sister Joel Read Center.