Why conversations on women
While women have different lived experiences from each other, they go through the same exact thing regardless of their skin color, race, and background. They all are trying to navigate and make their way in societies where being a woman is still not easy.It is without a doubt that being a woman in this world comes with sanctions and they vary depending on your race, class and ethnicity. Growing up, there are structural systems that teach both women and men how to engage in society and thus give each of us our roles in society. From birth, to our interactions with our mothers, to our participation in schools and then into the work force, all these spaces socialize women. They define what it means to be a woman, what womanhood entails, who fits into this narrative and how to perform womanhood. Through socialization, women operating in patriarchy internalize their oppression. The normalization of the inferiority of women and the suffering they go through becomes part of our everyday life. In society, women are told what their place is, what their roles are and how they should behave. Due to the normalization of the gender roles, women become silenced. It is, therefore, important for women to be aware of this socialization, talk about their issues, unlearn the internalized sexism, and speak about how they envision themselves locating and using their power. And this can start in spaces and conversations such as Girl Talk.
What is Girl Talk?
Girl Talk is first and foremost a space by women for women. It is a program that centers women’s narratives and humanizes their experiences. This where women can safely and comfortably critique, share experiences, exchange ideas and form solidarity through conversations aimed to incentivize social change. The program aims to help women and girls to put names to their experiences, to unpack and deconstruct their socialization and in turn break different myths and stereotypes regarding the interactions of women as a collective. Furthermore, Choose Yourself hopes that in these spaces and the resources provided, women can start to form sisterhood and see the importance of supporting each other. We understand that as individuals, women are powerful but as a sisterhood, they are forces that cannot be denied. We believe dialogue is a first step to making social change- as one woman talks, another woman finds her voice and her power. Girl talk brings together women from different stages of life so they can empower each other. Even though there are millions of women, they all are connected through one common bond: Sisterhood. For that reason, Girl talk is one way for women to channel sisterhood and find community. A core theme of each talk, although there are a wide variety of topics, is self-love: how we value ourselves in a world that does not always value us. When women have to constantly deal with various insecurities due to pressure from media and society, the greatest choice a woman can do for herself is to love all of who she is freely and deeply.
History of Girl Talk
Girl Talk has been happening in the United States in the city of Portland, Maine as well as Kigali, Rwanda. The program takes place in the form of a panel discussion, and in the end the audience engages in conversations about the theme topic. Each Girl Talk features a topic in which the panel and audience conversations is centered around, for example, feminism, sisterhood, and culture. All theme topics enable women to locate themselves, and share their views of the structure of society. In recognition that many times women are unable to share their experiences due to fear, shame or discomfort in the presence of men, Girl Talk is the space for them to this. However, we understand that men can and should be involved in conversations like these. Therefore, in Rwanda Girl Talk hosts a Pre-Girl Talk where men and women are welcome and are able to discuss on the issues of feminism, why it is necessary, and how to redefine it.
How to be Involved with Girl Talk
We recognize that these conversations and spaces provided by Girl Talk are important and necessary for women. For this reason, we envision the expansion of Girl Talk to occur in more states, cities and countries. We aim to reach young women and girls across continents to share with them the power that is sisterhood and solidarity. With this expansion, young women and girls can be involved with Girl Talk in whichever country, state, city or school through our Girl Talk Ambassadors. Girl Talk Ambassadors are young women and girls who are passionate about the social and economic empowerment of women, who organize Girl Talk programs in their designated hometowns. They work with the Director of Girl Talk to identify sponsors, potential panelists, and theme topics. Girl Talk Ambassadors are the heart of Girl Talk as they interact more with the local communities in designated communities. The Application for Girl Talk Ambassadors can be found here: Be a Girl Talk Ambassador