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Benefits of all-female environments

My Research Question: What is the benefit of an all-female* safe space?

Note: In this project, I refer to all-female and all-girl’s spaces interchangeably. By “female” I simply mean identifying as a woman. 

Camp Betsey Cox for Girls (I’m in the first row on the right)

About Me: For many years, I attended an all-girls’ camp and have started working there as a counselor. My experience in an all-female environment has been overwhelmingly positive, but in present day all-girls’ schools and camps are decreasing in popularity. I wanted to conduct this survey to highlight the benefits of all-female safe spaces, and to advocate for the idea that they’re not just a relic of the past. My research found that in the modern world, all-female environments are still an important source of safety, confidence, and education which would be hugely detrimental to lose. The data collected indicated a need to increase accessibility so the benefits can be extended to more groups of women. 

 

 

My Project: Conducting a sociological survey and a series of interviews

 

Step 1: Collecting Basic Information

 

First observation: all-female environments were largely private programs

 

Step 2: Analyzing the Benefits

“Being in an-all female environment, in my case a Catholic girls’ school, has helped me grow in confidence. It gave me more opportunities and made it easier for me to stand out. It helped me find the courage to start my own club, attend networking events, contact politicians, and speak in front of large audiences.”

-Interview with Laura Arroyo, a senior at Ursuline Academy of Dallas

 

 

 

Second observation: the majority of those surveyed gained leadership skills from being in an all-female environment. A smaller, but still substantial majority reported a greater sense of safety.

Did you know?

 

 

Step 3: Determining our society’s needs

Third observation: Although all-female safe spaces are available, accessibility is not universal. 

 

Step 4: Call to Action: Help to create more all-female safe spaces!

Now it’s your turn! How can you create accessible, all-female safe spaces in your own community? Add your ideas to the Padlet below!

https://padlet.com/juliahalm216/xrste78sdryx

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COMMENTS: 16
  1. April 27, 2017 by Sara G Reply

    Julia! This is so important. I’m sending it to a friend of mine who I totally see going to a women’s college but she still knows little fact and bases her opinions more on stigma surrounding all-female spaces. Thank you for putting all this information in one place.

  2. April 28, 2017 by Jonah C Reply

    Interesting survey ! I have heard the argument that all female spaces often lead women to discriminate against males and assume a female will be more willing to listen to them and understand them. What do you make of this argument ?

    • April 29, 2017 by Julia Reply

      Hi Jonah! In my opinion, all-female safe spaces merely exist to provide a sense of security and solidarity among women. Although a lot of progress has been made, complete gender equality has not been reached and women still face gender-based discrimination. I see your point that discussing these issues with only women may lead them to distrust men, but I think that bias was present before. I think it’s just more comfortable for people to share with those who have had similar life experiences and more easily understand them. That said, if a person is comfortable discussing gender-based issues with a person of a different gender, it can be a crucial learning experience.

  3. April 28, 2017 by Olivia J Reply

    This is really interesting! Do you think it is also important for men to have safe spaces (such as all-male camps or schools) or do safe spaces uniquely benefit females?

    • April 29, 2017 by Julia Reply

      I think that all-male safe spaces could be beneficial (as women can contribute to toxic masculinity and push men to fit the stereotype), but I placed my emphasis on all-female safe spaces because in our patriarchal society, women face more gender-based inequality and are statistically more endangered than men are. Safe spaces can benefit people of any gender, but the need is greater for women in our society. One note about all-male spaces: I think that there simply needs to be more caution taken to encourage a free range of gender expression rather than an emphasis on hyper-masculinity, which I see happen in some all-boy’s schools and camps in my community.

  4. April 30, 2017 by Lauren Reply

    Thank you for sharing your project! As of today, I actually just committed to a women’s college and I feel that I did so for the exact reasons you mentioned. I think there’s still a bit of stigma around women’s college but these benefits are clear that all-female environments help girls in a lot of ways. I wonder if our society were more egalitarian, would these benefits still need to be nurtured in all-female environments?

    • May 01, 2017 by Julia.Halm Reply

      I think that all-female safe spaces will always be valuable, because like it or not, there is generally a heightened sense of trust and safety among people of the same gender. That said, this is partially the result of an unequal society. I think that these safe spaces are especially important now, in an age of gender inequality, but would still provide some benefits in a more egalitarian world.

  5. April 30, 2017 by Emil B Reply

    Cool project and interesting read. I can see where your coming from and your experience with an all female camp/school is interesting. I think all-female groups and be helpful to women as you said in your presentation, things like this can be seen in groups such as the Girl camps and Girl Scouts that do so much for young girls. But personally, on a grand scale, I don’t think it will benefit women in the long run. Let me get one thing strait: I am all for equality, what I am simply saying is that this may not promote it that well.

    In my opinion, making segregated female “safe spaces” avoids the issue on gender equality entirely. Your poll on opinions being more accepted in an all female setting only goes to prove my point. They should be interacting in a mixed community. Creating “safe spaces” avoids what girls are going to experience in the real world, where they must interact and share opinions with everyone.

    At an early age, these groups are great (both boys and girls), as I said before. But I don’t think they should be continued on much passed that, as I feel that they start to be more insulating rather than exposing to what is possible for them to do. Do you think this is an issue attached to your argument?

    • May 01, 2017 by Julia.Halm Reply

      I loved how to defined “insulated” versus “exposing.” One reason why I don’t see an issue with all-female safe spaces is that the period of “insulation” is so temporary. It’s an entirely different thing to never interact with people of other genders. I personally believe that confidence and trust build in a somewhat incubated, temporary environment (in short intervals) can be used to help strengthen women’s interactions with the “real world.” A period of incubation can give people the strength to persevere in a world where gender-discrimination still exists.

  6. April 30, 2017 by Michelle Marshall Reply

    Hi Julia – I think that your project is well presented and you do a good job of describing your survey types, including sampling size (which is a pretty good size). I also think that you have a very good transition from presenting data to your call to action.

    You might give some examples of what an ‘all-female safe space’ might look like in a community. I volunteer with Girl Guides of Canada and I felt like that is an example.

    Overall – excellent project and the topic is extremely relevant.

    • May 01, 2017 by Julia.Halm Reply

      Thanks for your feedback! Part of the reason I incorporated the Padlet into my page was to gather different examples of safe spaces and engage with my readers.

  7. May 01, 2017 by Maat Reply

    Very Interesting and Great job! As someone that is going to an all womens college this fall this presentation only made me feel even more confident that I made the right choice by choosing the school that I did,

  8. May 01, 2017 by Ana Bogdanovich Reply

    This was a really intriguing topic to me as one of my best friends is at an all-girls high school and another one of my friends is going to a women’s college, so among my friends we’ve discussed the benefits and drawbacks of being educated in these environments. Their consensus was the same as yours, that it’s a force for good, and it was cool to see research that backs that!

  9. May 02, 2017 by Olivia Yepez Reply

    Hi Julia! I had never even considered what impact an all-female space could have because I live in an environment which I think focuses mainly on co-ed opportunities. This was the first time I’d ever even heard of an all-girls camp — I didn’t know that was a thing! After looking at your project, it made me feel like we need to more in my community to promote all-girls spaces and learning experiences. I was particularly struck by how many said that they felt their opinions were more valued in these spaces because until you made a point to mention it I didn’t realize that this rang true in my life too. I think girls have a special way of interacting with each other and a sense of community that we don’t see as much in co-ed and all-male spaces. Great job on your project, I really enjoyed all the graphics and research you included.

  10. May 02, 2017 by Rahul H Reply

    I think that your project is well presented and well written and you did a good job of describing your survey types, including sampling size. I also think that you have a very good transition from presenting data to your call to action. Overall, really good!

  11. May 02, 2017 by Ana S Reply

    Awesome project! I totally agree with the importance of safe spaces. I think they can be use as a formative platform for individuals to eventually take ideas a more challenging space.

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