In 2015, women held 25% of all STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) occupations; Latinas and Black women held only 1% and 3% of these jobs, respectively. Early exposure to STEM content and building skills like critical analysis and project management are key to closing the gender gap in STEM fields and the economy at large.
Girls Build LA, an initiative run by the LA Promise Fund, challenges young women from public middle and high schools across LA County to use STEM principles and 21st Century learning skills to effect social change. Girls Build LA activates young women to engage with the issues they care about, and prepares them to solve the problems of tomorrow.
How It Works
High school and middle school teams from across LA County apply to join Girls Build LA. We ask young women to identify an issue they face in their lives and through the program, produce a solution to effect positive change in their communities. LA Promise Fund selects 50 teams to compete in the Girls Build LA Challenge. Selected teams will receive seed funding, training, and materials to implement an organic, community-based, data-driven intervention to their challenge. All projects integrate STEM principles and address three core impact areas: Health & Wellness, Civic Engagement & Leadership, and STEM & College Access. Teams choose to address an issue they want to change, within an impact area which directly affects them and their community. Participating teams will create a website, develop social media campaigns, and use professional communication tools to share their progress throughout the program.
WHY GIRLS BUILD LA?
In the current political climate, the rights of Los Angeles residents seem increasingly under threat: immigrants’ rights, access to education, women’s rights. Add these concerns to longstanding risks facing our students: In the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest in the country, over 80% of all students live in poverty. In addition to economic barriers, young women are dealing with violence in their neighborhoods, crime, gangs, even sexual exploitation. Girls Build LA is designed to empower those who, arguably, are and would be most affected by these risks to identify solutions.
If you would like to learn more about how to support Girls Build LA and its important work, please contact our associate director of development, Mia Henley, at email@example.com.