We teach girls to exercise the power of their voice through programs grounded in social-emotional learning. We provide programs for girls, workshops for families, and professional development training for teachers, guidance counselors, and non-profit staff.

Girls Leadership centers gender and racial equity in our work to address the internal and external barriers to leadership development.

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.


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

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Girls Leadership exists to help create a world where all girls are included, embraced and belong. In our work, diversity and equity are at the heart of every decision we make, every program we design, every partner we connect with and all research we conduct so that we can create a more inclusive world where every girl’s leadership is valued.

Research & Innovation Approach

We create impact for around 100,000 girls per year. We work with districts, public schools, charters, independent schools, and community-based organizations across the country and internationally.

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 design our programs to meet the needs of the most marginalized girls in order to best serve all girls.




Includes anyone who identifies as a girl, as well as non-binary and gender expansive youth.

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 New York Times

How to Use Social Media, According to Teen Girls — Adults Are Panicked About Teens and Social Media. These Girls Have Advice.

Parents and public health experts have a lot to say about what adolescent girls do on their phones. We asked teens to weigh in.


International Day of the Girl: Creating a voice for young women in sports

The ‘Her Time To Play’ initiative aims to promote and encourage girls and women in sports.

Media Village

How to Evolve Through Diversity with Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Girls Leadership, Simone Marean 

Simone shares details of her journey as a founder, and demonstrates the effectiveness of sharing power and building community and the healthy succession and release of responsibility through an organization.


Janet Jackson’s Donation to Oakland-based Girls Leadership Supports its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Aims

Janet Jackson’s vintage clothes from previous tours are being auctioned with all proceeds going to Girls Leadership!

Morgan Stanley

All in for Impact Forum: Leadership Perspectives on Diversity and Inclusion

Susan Reid and Simone Marean discuss leadership, diversity and inclusion in this video with Lisa Shalett, CFO of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.


Janet Jackson is Selling Rare Merchandise to Support Oakland Nonprofit Girls Leadership

Janet Jackson is selling vintage merch with proceeds going to Girls Leadership to continue to help girls of color to find their voices in society


Janet Jackson sells merch on the RealReal to benefit girls’ leadership group 

Janet Jackson is selling vintage tour merchandise with proceeds going to Girls Leadership


Janet Jackson Partners with the RealReal for Charity Sale 

Janet Jackson partnered with the RealReal to sell her vintage merchandise and memorabilia with proceeds going towards Girls Leadership.


Celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day with the WNBA and Her Time to Play

Girls Leadership partnered with the WNBA for the Her Time to Play event, which includes a wellness check, education around Title IX, and a panel discussion for girls ages 10-14!


Women Still Make Less at Work. Follow This Advice to Negotiate for the Pay you Deserve 

Patriarchal norms have affected women socially and economically, however a girls leadership qualitative study explains how harmful gender norms are exposed to girls starting at a young age.


Little Girls Can Tell When You Underestimate Them…& They Don’t Like It 

In honor of International Day of the Girl, Girls Leadership put out youth-led research explaining how girls know when they are experiencing gender biases.


Mentoring Through Challenging Times: Turning Girls into Leaders

Summarizes key learnings from Girls Leadership’s She Know’s Her Power study.


Jr. NBA Finding New Ways to Connect with Today’s Youth

Girls Leadership is partnering with the WNBA to provide over 20,000 girls access to basketball clinics, life skill sessions, and online learning.



NBA, Nonprofits Partner On Youth Basketball Initiatives

Highlights Girls Leadership’s partnership with the WBNA, supporting the Jr. NBA’s “Her Time to Play” initiative.


The Individual All-Around Women’s Gymnastics Final Will Go On Without Biles

An interview with Girls Leadership’s National Training Director about Simone Biles’ powerful decision to prioritize her wellbeing.

Penn GSE News

From Research to Practice, Charlotte Jacobs is Busting Myths and Inspiring Action 

Profiles the amazing author of the Ready to Lead report, Dr. Charlotte Jacobs, and her work’s focus on the intersections of identity development, race, and gender in education.

The 74

As the Pandemic and Police Brutality Bring Inequities Into Sharp Relief, Black Girls Find Themselves Forced to Confront Both Racial and Gender Bias

Sites a data point from the Ready to Lead study around the lack of gender equity training in existing professional development offerings.


Mattel Reveals New Eleanor Roosevelt Barbie Doll Ahead of International Women’s Day

Announces Girls Leadership’s partnership with Mattel for the Barbie Dream Gap Project.


Here’s What Brands Are Doing for Women’s History Month 2021 

These initiatives highlight gender disparities, offer monetary support, celebrate inclusive womanhood and mention Girls Leadership’s partnership with Barbie.

Rock Your Joy

Exercising the Power of Your Voice

Simone speaks about the emotional benefits of training girls to use their voice to advocate for themselves and others.

Charlotte Parent

Girl Power: Raising Our Daughters to Be Confident, Capable Women

Girls Leadership and other experts reflect on how parents can help their daughters see their own future potential.

Philanthropy Women

Building Multicultural Leadership with Ready to Lead

Based off of Girls Leadership’s pivotal Ready to Lead study, this piece features a roundtable discussion focused on the implications of the report’s findings on the workforce of the future.

Peninsula Press

Girls Leadership Nonprofit Works to Lessen COVID-strain for Girls of Color

Girls Leadership believes that the pandemic should be an impetus to reevaluate school design and programming, calling upon policymakers and schools to dismantle barriers that prevent Black and Latinx girls from activating their full potential.

The Business Journals: BizWomen

Mentoring Through Challenging Times: Prepare an Emotional Emergency Kit 

Girls Leadership encourages families to prepare their own emotional emergency kits to make it through this year.


How You Can Celebrate International Day Of The Girl And Raise A Leader

An in-depth feature on Girls Leadership highlighting the origin story, SEL approaches, and how the organization celebrates girls not only on International Day of the Girl but also every single day.


Black Girl Freedom Fund: Extraordinary Times Require Extraordinary Measures

1BILLION4BLACKGIRLS references Girls Leadership’s Ready to Lead research as the collective calls for a $1 billion investment to support black girls and young women.


Teachers And Parents Hold The Key To Increasing Leadership Potential For Girls Of Color 

Forbes highlights Girls Leadership’s Ready to Lead research that studies teachers and young girls of color to learn how to better identify and support the next generation of female leaders.

Philanthropy Women

Girls Leadership, Vodafone Team Up for Black and Latinx Girls

Girls Leadership asks… Where are we headed in terms of women’s leadership? Are we doing enough to support girls of color and their families? Are we supporting representation in leadership roles, mentorships, and educational leadership?


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

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.”

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 Be a #MeToo. — What Parents Can Do to Help Keep Their Children Safe From Assault

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.

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.

Good Morning America 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.


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.

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.

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 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.

The New York Times

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.

ABC News

Target Moves Toward Gender-Neutral Store Signage

Rachel Simmons was interviewed about Target’s new policy of gender-neutral clothing and toys.


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


Pixar’s Inside Out is a perfect way to talk to kids about their feelings

The Mercury News

Mean Girls Starting Earlier — Even in Preschool

Name-calling, teasing and social exclusion is happening to their daughters in early elementary school, kindergarten or even preschool.


Westfield’s Roosevelt Intermediate School’s ‘Raising Resilient Girls’ presentation a plus for parents

After the presentation and the question and answer session that followed, it was clear that parents would be leaving with language to use at home to resolve conflicts effectively,”


Every Mom and Dad a STEM Mentor

For confidence building, I am a big fan of Girls Leadership Institute and their Summer camps. –

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.

credit Jessica Marrone Parkes

Tapinto Livingston

Girls Leadership Institute Launched Programs in New Jersey

Read about Girls Leadership expanding into New Jersey and our first event with host study partner, the Livingston Board of Education.

Maplewood Patch

Bestselling “Odd Girl Out” Author Presented Workshop

Read an article in the Maplewood Patch about Rachel Simmons’ talk in Maplewood, NJ.


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.


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



Tu seras une boss, ma fille

Read an article (in French) from Libération about GL’s Real Parents, Real Daughters workshop in New York.

El Cerrito Patch

Institute Helps Girls Overcome Pressures, Have Healthy Relationships

Hearing Girls Leadership Institute Executive Director Simone Marean talk about “Raising Resilient Girls” seemed like a good way to better understand the complex undercurrents of the interactions of girls on the school yard.

Daily Camera

Leadership Workshops Help Girls Navigate Friendships

Girls face relationship challenges that can be very sophisticated at a very young age. Parents of the youngest girls often feel helpless to deal with the mean girl behavior that their daughters experience.

The Mercury News

Mean girls, good girls — how about strong girls?

The message of Simone Marean’s Real Parents, Real Daughters workshop was the classic stuff of female assertiveness training: Be strong. Respect yourself. Look people in the eye. Calmly tell them what you need and how you feel. But this was no ordinary assertiveness class.

The New York Times

Girls, Uninterrupted

“Everyone where I live really judges me,” one girl says. “My mom sent me here because she said no one would judge me.”