Strength is an aspiration, a goal and a destination, something to be attained. We all want to be strong people, but most of us struggle
with finding the best possible route to our ultimate target. In the last several decades gender equality has taken several substantial leaps leading women to be stronger forces than ever before. However, many young girls stop short when in the presence of boys, feeling insufficient or incapable of fulfilling their true potential.
This phenomena was recognized by Lindsay Hyde,a young Harvard graduate
who was particularly attuned to girls self judgment in co-ed gym classes.
Lindsay was astounded to see how much elementary school girls humbled
themselves, shying away and hardly filling their true potential. Lindsay
decided that something had to be done to help women everywhere tap into their
amazing wealth of potential, and she established the program Strong Women
Strong Girls on Harvard´s campus in 2000 in attempt to do just that.
Strong Women Strong Girls is a program that revolves around female empowerment
and instilling strength in girls ages 10-12 from difficult backgrounds. The
carefully designed hour and a half program was administered by a group of girls
of college age, well-rounded mentors on a group of fifteen-year-old
schoolgirls. The program consisted of the study of the histories of
extraordinary woman in history and group activities to show the girls capable
of what this strong woman once achieved. Every session ended with the edition
of an entry in a special journal where the young girls would write about the
food for thought provided them by their mentors. The mentors would respond to
their entries and hand their journals back the following week for the cycle to
continue. Through its multiple methods of teaching, Strong Women Strong Girls
enables each and every girl participating in the program to feel empowered in
some way and hopes that every girl leaves program feeling stronger than they
did when they began.
After we saw how great the impact of such treatment was on the girls, we had
the program administered to twelve of our girls from Bet Elazraki who have some
of the most refreshingly shining personalities one could dream of. Every week´s
lesson had a valuable message, such as acceptance of others, goal setting and
determination. The girls learned about what makes a woman strong, and of what
character-traits set her apart from her counterparts. They learned of numerous
inspirational women in history such as Golda Meir, Rosa Parks, and Alice
Miller. The girls enjoyed feeling as though they had a secret relationship with
their journals that was kept completely private. As the lessons continued, the
girls felt more comfortable with us and with themselves. The nervous anxiety
that caused them to blunder and stutter was turned into enthusiasm and
motivation to succeed. The organization of Strong Women Strong Girls in Israel was
so privileged to be able to contribute to the positive transformation of these
We truly believe in the strength of this program and in the
value of the impact that it has had on the girls that have participated thus
far. The program is multifaceted in its design so that every girl can take
something out of every lesson, and in our second year at Bet Elezraki the
effects of the program on every girl, though different, are unmistakable.
At a time when politics seem unstable, the economy is at a decline and the road
to peace is still uncertain, we believe that Israeli society and the world at
large could benefit immensely from an increase in strength. We hope that Strong
Women Strong Girls will foster more strength in Israeli society and will
continue to pave the way for incredible female advances in the future.