We teach girls to exercise the power of their voice.

There are 25 million K-12th grade girls in the United States. If you combine the efforts of all national girl-serving organizations, they collectively are only reaching about three million, or about 12% of the country’s girls, leaving a staggering 22 million girls in the US without support. Girls Leadership’s bold goal is to close that gap.

Research & Innovation Approach

We create impact for over 150,000 girls per year through a three-part, integrated strategy:

1) Innovation engine: We innovate in our Power Lab, a unique partnership model where our staff build relationships with girls, study and listen to their needs, and then design programs to meet these needs. Programs are validated in the Power Lab to ensure impact is applicable to all girls. Our current labs include the Student Leadership Network in New York and Latitude High School in Oakland, CA.

2) Impact engine: Once we have evidence that programs are working in the Power Lab, we scale that impact by training professionals and partner organizations nation-wide.

3) Advocacy engine: By designing programs to meet the needs of our most marginalized girls, we teach girls the skills they need to exercise the power of their voice to defy the systems that silence them. We partner with schools, community-based organizations, and programs to build their capacity to understand their vital role in upending these systems so our girls can come of age within supportive and healing environments.


We structure our work around four central values: Authentic Communication, Courageous Growth, Equity, and Play.

What Makes Us Unique?

1) Girls Leadership works not only with girls, but also with their primary influencers – parents and caregivers, teachers, and program staff – to create systemic and scaled impact. 

2) We put social and emotional learning (SEL) at the foundation of leadership development.

3) We see girls’ every-day relationships with peers, friends and family as the primary opportunity to develop and practice the leadership skills that generate agency and influence over a lifetime.


At Girls Leadership we recognize that gender is a reflection of identity, biology, and expression.

Leadership is making others and situations better as a result of your presence, and making that impact last in your absence. This work can begin at any age, and doesn’t require a title or role.



The school of the future looks a lot like the school of the past. The micro-school approach—inspired by the American tradition of the one-room schoolhouse—is emerging as another alternative to distance learning.

Teen Vogue

Girls Leadership Report Finds Black and Latinx Girls Are Ready to Lead

Teen Vogue highlights the main findings of our newly launched research report by Dr. Charlotte Jacobs, Ready to Lead.

New York Times

Ambition Has Always Been ‘Ladylike’ Sexism unleashed in response to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run returns for the Democratic vice presidential campaign. Black women in contention for the spot have both race and gender to contend with—a “double jeopardy” they must navigate.


Are You Showing Up for Black and Latinx Girls? Girls Leadership’s Study Shows Schools Are Not “We have always been and will continue to be ready to lead.” Public academic, writer, philanthropic innovator, and past Girls Leadership honoree Rachel Cargle shares her story

Be Latina

No Road to Leadership: Black and Latinx Girls Face High Barriers Thanks to Systemic Racial Bias in Schools “Schools, girls-centered organizations, and policymakers have the ability to push back against and dismantle the internal and external barriers that prevent Black and Latinx girls from fully activating their potential.”

Washington Post

‘I Refuse to Listen to White Women Cry’ Activist Rachel Cargle has built a brand — and a business — by calling out racial injustices within feminism


Nonprofit Spotlight: Oakland’s Girls Leadership Breaking Down Unrealistic Standards and Empowering Girls to Make their Voices Heard

Brooklyn Based

Empowering girls before they lose their voice. Without great role models to instruct them, girls can have a hard time speaking up and advocating for themselves.

Boston Globe

Is ‘Girl Power’ really the right message for our daughters?
We mean well with this slogan, but let’s think about what it’s actually telling girls and boys.


We Tell Our Kids That Hard Work Always Pays Off. What Happens When They Fail Anyway? By Rachel Simmons, Girls Leadership Co-founder.

Podcast: The Thought Leadership School

How to Make Your Message More Powerful. Michelle Barry Franco talks about thought leaders who are doing this really well, why taking a stand is such a critical part of having a strong message, and the three essential elements you should consider when getting on any stage.

New York Times

How Not to Be a Snowplow Parent
The college bribery scandal raises the concern that overprotected young children are ill-equipped to face challenges. Here’s advice for raising a self-sufficient child.

Fox News 2 St. Louis

The Virtues of Girl-Boy Friendships. Even as more grown-ups come around to the idea that gender is a spectrum, children continue to draw a bold line between “boy” and “girl” and police these categories with a great fervor. “Boys can’t be friends with girls, and boys can’t jump rope!” my son’s friend recently explained to him during recess.


Is “girl power” creating a mental health crisis?
Will girls ever feel like they are enough as they are? Like many American girls raised after the Women’s Movement, Rachel grew up believing that not only could she accomplish anything she put her mind to, but she was also expected to excel at everything.

KQED Forum

Supergirl is a Myth: How to Help Girls Thrive in a World of Growing Expectations. In “Enough As She Is,” Rachel Simmons explores how effortless perfection became the expectation for girls and how parents and society can “dispense with the myth of the so-called amazing girl.”

KQED Mind Shift

How Empowering Girls to Confront Conflict and Buck Perfection Helps Their Well-Being. CEO & Co-founder Simone Marean says it’s crucial that adults start helping young girls to engage in productive conflict, acknowledge and grow from mistakes, develop emotional intelligence and take responsibility for the role they each play in social situations.

Chicago Tribune

Teaching girls they can be anything — but they don’t have to be everything. Rachel Simmons says we must help girls know themselves well enough to pursue what makes them tick, not what they assume will please or impress others.

The New York Times

The Promise of Self-Compassion for Stressed-Out Teens Rachel Simmons shares a powerful tool for “owning up to a tough moment without paying for it with your self-worth.”

Rachel Simmons quote in Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune

With the fall of Rob Porter, are we ready to stop giving a pass to abusers? Rachel Simmons urges parents to talk to their daughters about what sort of values they want to embody — and then help them understand that those values carry over into every part of their lives.

Washington Post

Perfectionism among teens is rampant (and we’re not helping). Rachel Simmons offers alternatives to simply saying, “just chill” to our kids.

The New York Times

How to Help Your Child Not Bea #MeToo. Rachel Simmons says, “It’s up to us to say, ‘I believe your feelings and you should too,’ because self advocacy can only happen when you authorize your own feelings.”


Rachel Simmons talked about how she learned from mistakes to achieve success, and why parents must share their own mistakes and apologize in front of kids too.

Rachel Simmons on Good Morning America

Good Morning America

Rachel Simmons weighs in on a Dutch woman who faces down her catcallers by posting selfies with them, using social media as a tool to take back her own power.

Rachel Simmons on GMA talks about girl scouts boy scouts

Good Morning America

Are the Boy Scouts trying to recruit girls away from the Girl Scouts? Rachel Simmons on why girls and boys need single sex spaces to be themselves, with each other.

New York Times

6 Things Parents Should Know About Sending Kids Back to School. If your child is sad about leaving camp friends or worried about the academic pressures of the next grade level, hear her out — and show empathy. Then, avoid the knee-jerk reaction to fix everything. Instead, ask your child to brainstorm ways to make the situation better.

Wharton Business Radio Highlights

Managing Self-Expectations and the Potential to Fail. Rachel Simmons joins host Laura Zarrow to discuss how women can learn to “fail well” and become more assertive and self-aware.

Atlantic everday sexism in a post feminist world

The Atlantic

Everyday Sexism in a ‘Post-Feminist’ World. Pop culture tells girls they can do anything, but the messages they experience in the classroom tell a different story. Organizations like Girls Leadership are providing solutions.

image by Lauren Lancaster for The New York Times

New York Times

On Campus, Failure Is on the Syllabus. A Smith College initiative with Rachel Simmons called “Failing Well” is one of a crop of university
programs that aim to help high achievers cope with basic setbacks.

Rachel Simmons on Good Morning America

Good Morning America

How to help children learn resilience through failure. GMA interviewed Rachel Simmons about concepts in her upcoming book, Enough as She Is.

Parents Magazine

6 Ways to Be a Strong Role Model for Your Daughter “There is so much pressure to put other people’s feelings and needs ahead of our own—and we need to change the messaging for the next generation of women,” says Simone Marean

CNN Parents

Body image: Are girls’ clothes sending wrong message to kids? (Opinion) “Self-consciousness goes up with the more skin you are baring and the more shape you are showing.. Your body becomes an object that others can have access to, and we know that self-objectification begins really early,” said Rachel Simmons.

Outside Magazine

The Girl Scouts Is Raising Our Next Generation of Rippers “If we can build bravery skills, then they’ll have the internal capacity to recover from failure and go back out there and try again,” Marean says. Pain and rejection will happen; being in nature can help girls find solace, strength, and inspiration.


Gloria Steinem: There Is No Such Thing As ‘White Feminism’ At an intimate fundraising dinner held Thursday evening in New York City to benefit non-profit Girls Leadership, Steinem spoke at length about the perception that silos that exist between black and white feminists.

On Parenting

Want to raise empowered women? Start in middle school. Practical tips for empowering middle schoolers, featuring Co-Founder Rachel Simmons & more.

The Huffington Post

Want to Raise a Rocket Scientist? 20 Holiday Gifts to Give Girls a Head Start. Featuring Girls Leadership Parent & Daughter Book Club.


How DonorsChoose, She’s The First And Girls Leadership Built Their Brands. “Over the years we’ve learned to trust our audience,” says Simone Marean. “Now we do our best to give away content every day.”

Washinton Post On Parenting

The art of saying no: How to raise kids to be polite, not pushovers. Common courtesy shouldn’t outweigh common sense. Help your kids learn how to say no. Interview with Cofounder Simone Marean.

The Enthusiasm Enthusiast

Katie Ward interviewed our co-founder Simone Marean on why it’s time to retire the term “mean girls,” and why the princess phase doesn’t mean the end of feminism as we know it.

Parents Magazine

Is Your Kid Ready for a Best Friend? Whether your child has a BFF, wants one, or isn’t yet clued in to the concept, these tips will help you teach her what true friendship entails.

New Canaan Advertiser

About 100 parents gathered at the New Canaan Library on March 8 to hear Simone Marean talk about Raising Resilient Girls in the Digital Age, hosted by LiveGirl

Adventure Nannies

One of our Adventure Nannies, Aryn, works as an educator with Girl’s Leadership, so we sat down with her to learn more about this life-changing organization.

KQED’s Forum

Encouraging Girls to Face Fear, Take Risks and Seek Adventure. Host Mina Kim interviewed Simone Marean and “The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure” author Caroline Paul.

The Cavalier

Parents help girls change the world. Girls Leadership encourages interaction between girls and parents to help girls cope with the challenges they may face, as well as increase social and emotional intelligence.

The Record

More than 300 parents came to Pascack Valley High School in Hillsdale, NJ to hear how they can be better role models in influencing the emotional and intellectual lives of their daughters.

San Jose Mercury News

There are some unsettling trends in girl dynamics today, Simone Marean told hundreds of parents and students attending Tuesday night’s Piedmont Education Speaker Series called “Raising Resilient Girls.”

How to Keep Girls Raising Their Voices


7 Skills to Teach Your Daughter by Age 13. Rachel Simmons on how parents can help girls through the pressure of tween life.

Glamour Magazine

How Embracing Failure Can Be a Stepping Stone to Success. Teach young women there is value in failure—even more so than in success—if you fail chasing a dream, taking a risk, or trying something new.

Fortune Magazine

Why This Nonprofit Wants to Help Girls Fail. Want more female leaders? Lose the pressure for perfection. Fortune’s article of Simone Marean’s interview with Lauren Schiller.

NYT Motherlode

Why Your Kids Love Snapchat, and Why You Should Let Them, by Rachel Simmons

Inflection Point with Lauren Schiller

We all want our sons and daughters to grow up strong and independent, but how do we ensure that ‘having it all’ doesn’t mean ‘doing it all’? Lauren Schiller interviewed Simone Marean.

Good Morning America

Sesame Street’s 1st Muppet With Autism Aims to End Stigma, Promote Understanding. Rachel Simmons says Julia, the newest Muppet, can teach all kids empathy.

Good Morning America

Rachel Simmons on Good Morning America talking about why girls tend to take failure harder than boys, and what parents can do to help them manage failure.

girl with blue jacket

Parents Magazine

The Secret to Raising a Happy, Confident Girl. While girls’ levels of academic achievement have risen, their rates of stress, anxiety, and depression have risen as well.

The Tampa Tribune

Target aisles losing gender designations, and Simone Marean weighed in.


7 Summer Camps Empowering Girls That You Should Support (Or Attend)


Pixar’s Inside Out offers the chance for parents and their children to have meaningful and impactful conversations surrounding emotional health.

smiling girl covered with colors

One Thing New

Why you should embarrass your kids, and how conflict as an opportunity for change is a radical concept for girls.

Ronnie’s Awesome List

Ronnie and Simone talked about the pressures on middle school girls, what’s available for boys’ social emotional learning, and our goals to reach 25 million girls.

KQED: Girls and the Ambition Gap

Hear Co-Founder and Executive Director Simone Marean talk about girls and the ambition gap, with best-selling author Peggy Orenstien and About Face’s Jennifer Berger.

TEDx Women

Watch Co-Founder Rachel Simmons give a Tedx Talk about girls leadership.