Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Addressing Title IX in urban and minority populations

Two items of note: one current, one forthcoming.
Out now is the book/guide, Hey Shorty!: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools and on the Streets.
It is based on the work done in the non-profit Girls for Gender Equity based on Brooklyn. The group is "committed to the physical,, psychological, social and economic development of girls and women. Through education, organizing and physical fitness, Girls for Gender Equity encourages communities to remove barriers and create opportunities for girls and women to live self-determined lives." Based on Brooklyn, the group caters primarily to urban girls of color. Hey Shorty! (Feminist Press) presents the model developed by GGE on how to teach young people how to address and define sexual harassment as well as some of its effects. According to the blurb, the guide is "geared toward students, parents, teachers, policy makers, and activists, this book is an excellent model for building awareness and creating change in any community."

We haven't seen a copy of the guide yet, but the "look inside" feature at the Amazon.com shows that Title IX is mentioned in the guide.
The title, by the way, is a common call heard by girls as they walk the streets of their communities and the halls of their schools. Shorty is slang for a "sexually attractive girl with both childlike and feminine attributes in terms of body and behavior." In other words, not innocuous and not having anything to do with one's height.

And, not out yet, but we're eagerly awaiting its release, is a documentary film (link to the Chronicle of Higher Education, subscription required to read the whole article), about the effects--or lack thereof--of Title IX in urban schools. The movie, In the Game, is from the production company that gave us Hoops Dreams and is at least a year away from being available to the public. Director Maria Finitzo features three different stories: an inner-city girls' soccer team, a professional women's basketball team, and a group of young girls in the Chicago public schools who are investigating issues of gender equity in their schools.
Even from the little I have heard thus far about the film, it seems like it will start to fill some of the gaps in the literature around the law and its application to urban schools and effects on the girls in those communities. And the stories look like they will be quite compelling.