As 2018 comes to a close, we asked several of our members what they’re proudest of over the past year and what their resolutions are for 2019.
December 13, 2018
Jill Carey (Chicago-Northwest Indiana ’08) and Annie Warshaw (Chicago-Northwest Indiana ’10), co-founders of Mission Propelle, share their thoughts.
We’re a girl-power business in a girl-power moment. From the #metoo movement to the midterms, 2018 resounded with the voices of women and girls—and it’s about time! Since 2013, Mission Propelle has empowered elementary-age girls to know who they are, what they believe, and how to advocate for themselves. In 2018 we hit our all-time highest enrollment in our Girl Power Yoga program and crossed the threshold of 110 total school partners. We’re proud of these milestones, but what gets us really excited is what’s brewing on the horizon: girl power for everyone—not just girls.
Recognizing that change requires the participation of power-holders, we decided to bring boys into the fold. In early 2018, we launched Power Friends Yoga—a co-ed complement to our traditional, girl-only empowerment program that emphasized allyship. We created a space where boys could freely explore and express their emotions, hear and witness how gender inequity hurts girls and non-binary children, and center the fulcrum of power by using their voices and actions to stand up for their peers.
However, we ran into a pretty big problem—boys did not sign up in large numbers. While most boys and their families knew of inequity and generally opposed it, they didn’t feel it firsthand. Worse, the anxiety of signing up for a “girl program” meant they opted out, leaving a room full of girls ready to partner up with boys and take down the patriarchy— except they found themselves bereft of boy support.
So we went back to the drawing board. Literally. In 2019, our resolution is to reach every elementary-age child in CPS with our new e-book: Let’s Talk About Gender Equity. This book provides an age-appropriate yet crystal-clear message about gender equity: what it is, who it impacts, and why it’s a worthy cause. The simple truth is, we need to talk about equity as though it is an everyone issue because it is an everyone issue. We need to stop putting the onus to solve gender inequity squarely on girls and start calling on boys to step up and work for change. And we need to start ’em young—before they’re steeped in messages and attitudes that reinforce toxic and outdated notions of gender and power.
2018 was a great year—it was one of the first years since launching that we’ve seen systemic-level change that empowers girls and women. 2019 will be better. If we reach our goal, we will initiate a generation of boys who treat girls as equals and do everything they can to manifest gender equity socially, financially, educationally, and politically.