By Rachel Jeffries and Faith Miller
On Tuesday, April 24, the young women of McNicholas gathered for an all-girls assembly to hear Dr. Lisa Hinkelman speak. She is the author of the book Girls Without Limits: Helping Girls Achieve Healthy Relationships, Academic Success and Interpersonal Strength, which was written as a guide to understanding what girls think and feel on a daily basis.
Hinkelman spoke at two different one-hour sessions; one geared for freshmen and sophomores, and one designed for juniors and seniors. Hinkelman started each assembly by asking the attendees general questions like, “Who feels like they know everyone in the room?” and “Who here feels comfortable to speak their minds?” She addressed the issue of confidence, body image, self-esteem issues, trust, and the value of female friendships.
“I felt that it was important to bring these topics to the forefront and I felt like it was important for the girls to hear from an empowered woman,” Director of Counseling and College Readiness Alaina Way said. Way knew about this program, ROX, because Hinkelman was one of her speakers during graduate school and was developing the program during that time.
Hinkelman is the founder and CEO of the national non-profit organization, ROX, Ruling Our eXperiences, a program for 5th – 12th grade girls to provide them with “skills they need to control challenges like body image, fitting in, academics, and friendships.”
Senior Lauren Steinkuhl said, “I liked that she wasn’t condescending and that she was willing to learn,” and she also learned, “30% of women with a 4.0 GPA thought they weren’t smart enough for their job.”
Hinkelman also showed “The Girls’ Index Explainer,” a video by Outsider, that provided a look into the complex lives of today’s girls. “The Girls’ Index” provides information on confidence, speaking our minds, education, social media. Hinkelman taught that confidence is key. According to The Girls’ Index Explainer, girls with confidence are more likely to share their opinions, trust themselves and others, and to be the leaders of tomorrow.
One thing that attendees wanted most was more time so that Hinkelman could go into more depth with her speech. “I would want her to show more concrete actions of how to empower other women and how to increase confidence,” Stienkuhl said.
“If it were longer, we would’ve dove into more about confidence and more activities,” Way said.
Junior Emily Bryne did say that she learned that “self-confidence is key,” and senior Francesca Lopreato said she learned, “[To show] how to love yourself first; no one should shame you for loving yourself first.”
“I wanted the girls here to walk away feeling empowered, that they’re not alone and there are resources to help them so they can grow to be a stronger person,” Way said.
“The assembly was necessary; a lot of girls are dealing with the struggles Dr. Hinkelman addressed,” sophomore Morgan Pico said. “It made me more open to reaching out and making new friendships with other girls.”
“She taught us that the first impression is important and that confidence is key to meeting new people,” freshman Mary Nelson said. “The assembly opened eyes to issues that girls face every day.”