Education: Not Equal Yet

Madison Dawkins is one of the recipients of the $500 GenHERation Connection 2014 Philadelphia Community Challenge sponsored by the Chester County Fund for Women and Girls. The grant will support her Not Equal Yet project, which she describes in more detail below.

My interest in gender equity began after viewing a documentary entitled, Girl Rising. This documentary told the stories of several girls around the world and how they are affected by the power of education. I was disappointed to learn about the prevalence of forced early marriage, gender-Madisonbased violence, domestic slavery, and sex trafficking. After viewing the documentary, I realized how naive I was of many issues surrounding gender equality. Determined to  acquire a greater knowledge surrounding women empowerment, I attended the 2014 Pennsylvania Conference for Women. My experience at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women cemented my interest in gender issues and  empowerment of women. Although I had an incredible experience at the conference, I was disappointed that it was only an annual event.

While at the GenHERation Connection 2014 Philadelphia conference, I was inspired by all of the outstanding speakers who provided useful advice about the experiences they faced within their field. I also thought it was interesting how the speakers came from a variety of different professional backgrounds. I was energized by the conference. When presented with the opportunity to compete in the GenHERation contest to create a community service project or business initiative, I thought it was a perfect way to implement my passion for women’s empowerment by creating a monthly lecture series for high school girls.

My community is in many ways very traditional with women playing conventional roles. Discrimination against women and girls and gender inequality prevail. Through highlighting the roles women do and can play in the world, I hope to inspire the girls in my community to pursue a lifetime of empowerment. Therefore, the mission of my Not Equal Yet project is to educate and empower high school junior and senior girls to make a difference locally, nationally, and globally through a lecture series given by women leaders who are experts in their fields. This monthly lecture series is designed to teach high school junior and senior girls how they can make a difference for future generations of girls and women. Each lecture features a keynote speaker, a woman leader in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, who will discuss keys to success for women in her field and the adversity that she faced as a woman on her road to success.

Susan Mostek, the Executive Director of the Chester County Fund for Women and Girls, will be serving as a mentor to Madison as she implements her project. Susan believes that “It is critical that young women be enabled to find their voices. Madison’s project realizes the importance of spreading empowerment to their generation. By utilizing a ripple effect our entire community will benefit from her idea. The Fund is excited for the impact she is about to create.”

Madison’s first lecture with Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown will take place this Wednesday, January 28th from 6:30pm-8:00pm in the Assembly Room at the Baldwin School, 701 Montgomery Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA. More information can be found here.

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