Mighty Girl: Empowering girls through leadership development
Master of Education
Girls’ leadership identity development
Improving well-being and self-esteem
Leadership skills development
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Many girls face a significant decline in their self-esteem during adolescence. However, there is a connection between the skills girls can develop in order to improve their self-esteem, and the development of a leadership identity. Those who develop a leadership identity redefine leadership in a way that disrupts gender stereotypes and expectations, and allows them to see their own capacity to be a leader. What is notably missing from extant research are the resources that can be used to develop and practise leadership skills, and spaces in which girls can see themselves as leaders. This portfolio provides a workshop that encourages girls to see themselves as leaders, and aims to improve girls’ leadership skills as well as target societal barriers and stereotypes that lead to the decline of many girls’ self-esteem. The research that served as the foundation for the workshop focused on two research questions: How can encouraging the development of leadership skills help girls improve their self-esteem and create a leadership identity? How might girls’ participation in community engagement serve as an opportunity to practise their leadership skills and, in that process, improve their self-esteem? The portfolio encompassed three tasks; a formal literature review, conducting a survey, and developing a leadership workshop for adolescent girls in grades 6-12. From the literature review and survey responses, four themes emerged: Changing dominant ideas about gender, redefining leadership, creating a leadership identity and utilizing leadership skills. These themes were used as the structure of the workshop. Overall, the aim was to create a resource that would help girls recognize their capacity to be a leader at a time in adolescence when many girls’ selfesteem displays a decline.