Challenge and promise of growing up female is topic of Women’s Studies conference

NEW PALTZ — The Women’s Studies Program at the State University of New York at New Paltz will host a one-day conference on Oct. 6, titled “Girlhood: The Challenge and Promise of Growing Up Female.”

This year’s conference focuses on growing up female in the United States and around the world, in contemporary society, and throughout history. It will explore the ways girls view themselves and how their identities are influenced by the cultural, social, economic, political and familial contexts in which they live and grow.

Heather Hewett, coordinator of the Women’s Studies Program said that with this year’s conference they were particularly interested in looking at the challenges of growing up in societies that may not value girls and in girls’ creative responses to the obstacles, pressures and expectations they face.

The keynote panel includes Courtney Martin, author of “Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating your Body,” and Mary Roodkowsky, senior advisor to UNICEF.

Three incoming first-year students from the High School of International Business and Finance in New York City will join the panel to talk about their high school experience. Two of the three – Queen Bond and Cristal Pimentel – were featured in a New York Times article this past summer that highlighted the support they gave each other as they navigated the sometimes challenging world of high school. They each have become the first person in their family to earn a high school diploma.

Workshops include topics such as: “Girlhood and Globalization: Insights from India, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya;” “Building Girls’ Strong Voices;” “It Takes A Village: How the Community of Lancaster Addresses Girlhood;” “The Historical Roots and Contemporary Tailoring of Interventions for ‘At-Risk’ Girls;” “Out of Their Silences and Into Their Truths: A Leadership Development Program for High School Girls;” “The Girl Scouts and Political Identity;” “Putting up a Fight: Girlhood Aggression and Delinquency, Past and Present;” and “Health Issues Facing Girls.”

Pre registration is required for lunch and child care. Deadline for registration is Sept. 21. Conference facilities are wheelchair accessible. Call (845) 257-2975 if you use a wheelchair or have other accessibility needs.

Girls of all ages and those interested in girlhood are invited to attend. Students under the age of 18 can attend for free.

For a complete list of programs, registration forms or more information, visit or call the Women’s Studies Program at (845) 257-2975. For registration information, contact (845) 257-3033.

Conference workshops and keynotes will take place in the Lecture Center and the Coykendall Science Building.

This event is sponsored by the Women Studies Program, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Fine and Performing Arts, Campus Auxiliary Services and Mid Hudson Teachers’ Center.