Across the world, scholars and researchers are conducting critical research on issues impacting young women and girls, yet much of that data remains out of reach for those who need it most.
This spring, the White House Council on Women and Girls welcomed over 100 researchers, policy advocates, business leaders, members of the media, and non-profit executives to the first-ever White House Research Conference on Girls. At the conference, leading researchers presented their work on girls and STEM, girls and leadership, and the sexualization of girls in the media. Additionally, we heard from a panel of thought-leaders, including the CEO of Girl Scouts, Anna Maria Chávez, and Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education Catherine Lhamon.
The conference, held on April 28, was punctuated with the announcement of a new Girls Research Coalition, founded by seven leading organizations that conduct research on girls. The centerpiece of this new coalition will be a new online Girls Research Portal, which the founders hope will serve as a clearinghouse for research on girls and make this research more accessible to non-academics. The goal of this portal is to make valuable data and research more readily available and actionable for those who lead girl-serving organizations, journalists reporting on girls, policymakers and advocates focusing on girls’ issues, business leaders, educators, parents, and others.
We applaud efforts from the research community to develop new ways to report and share their findings for broader audiences to inform discussion and action, and we will need all those working to support and empower girls to put this data to good use. When we connect research and action, we will begin to make a real difference in the lives of girls across this country.
Valerie Jarrett is Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls.