A youth symposium on girls’ leadership will be hosted at York University this weekend, marking the end of a successful first year of the Engaging Girls, Changing Communities (EGCC) initiative.
The symposium will take place Saturday, July 14, from 9am to 4pm, at 519 York Research Tower, Keele campus.
EGCC brings together girls and young women with a network of researchers, public school professionals and youth-serving community organizations.
Nombuso Dlamini at last year’s forum
The project, spearheaded by Nombuso Dlamini, a professor in York’s Faculty of Education and the inaugural Jean Augustine Chair in Education in the New Urban Environment, investigates how young women and girls engage in leadership and civic activities in new urban environments.
Over the past 12 months, the project hired and trained youth from around the GTA to interview young women and girls about their experiences of leadership and civic engagement. The event highlights the youth interviewer participation in the research process by providing a space where they can present their experiences and receive positive feedback. Initial findings from the interviews will also be presented.
Youth interviewers being trained last summer
The symposium will also mark the kick-off of what promises to be an exciting and engaging second phase of EGCC, during which girls will be given resources to design their own projects and activities to learn about and practice leadership and civic engagement.
“There’s a pressing need for more women in leadership roles, particularly in government and the civic arena,” says Dlamini. “If we are to achieve this, we need to start from the ground up, which means getting girls engaged in civics early on.”
Youth interviewers from the GTA and the Windsor branch of the project will gather in Toronto on Friday to share a meal and visit a local attraction. On Saturday, project participants, researchers, community partners and a selection of youth from various community organizations will convene at York.
The day will begin with a short address from Dlamini and then launch into a panel showcasing youth engagement in different areas of Toronto. Youth interviewers will then present their experiences and findings with the audience. Finally, team building and brainstorming activities will take place to create and strengthen networks of collaboration, discuss next steps, as well as tap into the unique insight provided by youth from the communities for use in the construction of the summer initiative.
The project’s co-applicants, York Professor Joy Mannette of the Faculty of Education and Yvette Daniel of the University of Windsor, will also be in attendance.
This research was supported by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Anyone interested in attending must RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org, or e-mail for more information.