National Conference on Girls' Education

February 10-12, 2012

Co-founded by The Young Women's Leadership Network and The National Coalition of Girls' Schools

The inaugural National Conference on Girls’ Education, the first conference of its kind, brought together public, independent, and religiously-affiliated girls’ schools along with several girl-focused nonprofits to Washington DC, Feb. 10 – 12, 2012. Over 400 educators representing over twenty-five states and six countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and India came together to advance the field of educating girls globally. The conference themes of competence, confidence, courage, and community attracted top-notch leaders in the girl-serving sector. Keynote speakers included Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, US Department of Education Deputy Chief of Staff, Tyra Mariani, author Rachel Simmons, scholar Joshua Aronson, psychologist and author, JoAnn Deak, author Sally Helgesen, author Irshad Manji, Dove Global Self-Esteem Ambassador, Jess Weiner, President of the National Council on Women’s Health, Dr. Gayatri Devi, Senior Research Scientist, Dr. Cornelia Brunner, national expert on single gender schools, Dr. Rosemary Salomone, and prominent UCLA professor Linda Sax. Keynote speakers referred to this event as the “Who’s Who” in educating girls.

Conference attendees called this “the single, most effective conference ever attended on girls’ education” while others suggested that it offered “utilizable practices grounded in solid research.” The conference aimed to connect and bridge both in and out of school time organizations, public and private, so that all could maximize the impact of our work toward the healthy development of girls. The conference achieved this goal, connecting professionals with other girls’ educators in thoughtful and meaningful ways. NCGS Board President, Ann Pollina, closed the conference by emphasizing to attendees that, “Our network is our strength. Your work is vital, and in the words of Irshad Manji, ‘You will never be a footnote in the life of a girl you have transformed.’”

NCGS and YWLN are doing a thorough analysis to determine the best way to stay connected with attendees, further the field of educating girls, and capitalize on useful feedback to deliver a future encore.


“I was hooked from the opening.”
- Dean of Student Services, Public Girls’ School

“In general it reminded me of why I dedicate my life’s work to empowering and educating young women and I came back to work with a fuller heart and a clearer mind.”
- Development Staff at a non-profit girl serving organization

“Having the most recent information about educating girls academically, socially, emotionally, physically presented in one place at one time was a dream.”
- Independent School Head

“I feel inspired and empowered to keep working to make a difference in girls’ lives.”
- Public Girls’ School Teacher

“This was hands-down the single, most effective conference I have ever attended on girls’ education. As a researcher/head, I have attended quite a few gender-specific conferences over the last 20 years. Given equal quality for a future NCGE, I would find the [money] for my entire faculty to attend…Thank you for a stellar experience.”
- Independent school head