“Girls can’t be what they can’t see”- a call for female mentors

Dealing with bias and stereotypes can be devastating, but mentors are like “social vaccines,” says psychology professor Nilanjana Dasgupta in a recent issue of The Atlantic, “They inoculate the mind against the stultifying effects of negative stereotypes.” It’s no secret that girls are being bombarded from every angle with messages telling them who they should and should not be. What size, what they should be into, and what they should want for themselves. The girls we work with at The W frequently tell us stories about how they feel out of place in science class, how they aren’t given the same opportunities to participate as boys, and about how they are told that instead of engineering, they should pick a career that “better suits their gender” (true story! I know — horrifying). That’s why, here at The W, YWCA Cambridge’s collective space for women and girls, we offer free programming […]

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