A University Responds

The Young Women and Girls Project at Rockford University has two aims. One aim is to gather and share information on the status of young women and girls in Illinois and surrounding areas on such topics as education, health, and poverty. This part of the project will result in a report that focuses specifically on young women and girls because many of the challenges faced in Illinois and elsewhere relate to gender and can be fruitfully explored through that lens. Such challenges include human trafficking; domestic violence; wage disparity; body image; eating disorders; careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM disciplines).

The second aim of the project is to encourage and highlight all manner of academic and creative work within our university community on the welfare of women and girls and related topics. The platform for this second purpose will be a designated area on the Rockford University website where student, faculty, staff, and community work can be located, after vetting by a small university committee. The website will contain links to community and external resources.

The information gathered in the final report can be useful to business and community organizations and citizens in understanding the lives of girls and young women among us. The report can also inform and support advocacy for changes in programs and policies on the basis of sound research and evidence. And it can generate support for those improvements. The website can be a continuous record of the breadth and variety of the university’s activities in this area as well as an inspiration for new work.

As the alma mater of Jane Addams and other notable women and men, and the current university home of diverse, aspiring students, Rockford University aims through this project both to continue and to enhance our record of community engagement. Through developing and sharing academically reliable information and generating community awareness, we can support our educational mission and others’ actions and plans to make the lives of young women and girls more fruitful and safer, for themselves and our communities.

Department Information

Young Women & Girls in Illinois
Rockford University
5050 E. State Street
Rockford, IL 61108

Project Contacts:
Sharon Meilahn Bartlett, Ph.D., French and Gender Studies
Stephanie Quinn, Ph.D., Classical Studies
Mary Weaks-Baxter, Ph.D., English
Belinda Wholeben, Ph.D., Psychology