Why We Need To Create Brave Spaces For Girls

A foundational piece of our work at Girls Leadership is to create brave spaces – communities where all girls and gender-expansive youth feel seen, accepted, and loved by peers and adults – in person and online. Brave spaces are crucial because they allow for vulnerability, the safety to take risks, mess up, reflect, and recover, all while still belonging in the community. How can any of us evolve as humans and leaders if we don’t have the support of relationships that give us this ability to make mistakes?

We realize that this is a hard time to be brave. Research continues to show that teens, educators, and parents alike are experiencing growing levels of stress, anxiety and depression as racial and gender-based injustices persist. But this is precisely why creating brave spaces for girls and gender-expansive youth, especially youth of color, to heal is more important than ever. Spaces of belonging, especially in school settings, are a proven factor in building resilience and better mental health for all youth. 

At Girls Leadership, we’ve been building brave spaces for girls for 20 years, and we’ve seen their transformative power on sports teams, in classrooms, and at camps. That’s why we’re offering Brave Space Groundwork, a 2-hour workshop for youth-serving professionals on February 21. And we’re so excited to create brave spaces for girls and their parents and caregivers through our Girl & Grownup workshops (for grades K–8).

While brave spaces are important for all students, they are especially for girls, because of the gender expectations that tell girls their primary value is in how others see them. Are they likable? Are they attractive and polite? Too many girls learn to put the feelings, needs, and opinions of others before their own. Fear of what other people might think, and fear for their own safety, leads too many girls and gender-expansive youth to keep their hands down in class, drop out of sports, and hold back in any spaces where they don’t feel connected and valued.

We all benefit when girls and gender-expansive youth feel empowered to share their insights, feelings, and skills. When we take the time and energy to build and sustain a brave space community, girls and gender-expansive youth – and the adults in their lives! – report greater confidence, leadership, and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) skills.

Educators & administrators (including school counselors, CBO staff, after-school staff, and other youth-serving professionals): You’re invited to join us on February 21 for the Brave Space Groundwork workshop. In this interactive and engaging couple of hours, you’ll learn how to create brave spaces and center the SEL needs of all the youth you serve.

Parents & caretakers: We have a workshop just for you! Girl & Grownup workshops (for grades K–8) offer brave and fun spaces for girls to explore the power of voice together. In these Girl & Grownup workshops, you’ll both learn practical communication skills to put into practice right away.

Ready to get brave? We’re ready to support you!

  1. Suzy Davies, Children's Author

    “At Girls Leadership, we’ve been building brave spaces for girls for 20 years, and we’ve seen their transformative power on sports teams…”

    It is my belief that the value of girls’ active participation in Sport has often been overlooked in a paradigm of patriarchy and tradition until only recently. The benefits of girls participating and succeeding in male-dominated sports cannot be underestimated if we are to create high-achieving role models – the girls who will become the women leaders of tomorrow.


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