Better Makers: WorldWideWomen Hosts a Day of Power and Possibility for Bay Area Girls

Arts and Entertainment Panel at WorldWideWomen Girls' Festival (Photos by Nikki Ritcher Photography.)

The third annual WorldWideWomen Girls’ Festival that took place on Saturday, Oct. 6 at Santa Clara University was a day of power and possibility for thousands of girls and their families from around the Bay Area. The festival attracted around 2,000 girls and their families with more than 100 activities hosted by 70 Bay Area companies and organizations.

Taking place on the Santa Clara University campus in the heart of Silicon Valley, the daylong event aimed to empower girls of all ages. Some of the activities the girls enjoyed included performances from girl choral groups, dance troupes, spoken word, a fashion show from girl designers, 20 interactive workshops tackling topics from human trafficking and safety to leadership and advocacy, a video contest with Kaiser Permanente raising awareness about mental health, STEM classes, a makerspace featuring everything STEAM, and an expo of organizations that offered programs for girls in the Bay Area. The Girlpreneur Competition, run with BizWorld, is a contest for girl entrepreneurs to get funding for their businesses. Five finalists presented their ideas to a panel of judges on the stage and the winner (Sol Power, who will make solar-powered phone cases/chargers) received $1,000 to support the budding venture. Five career mentoring panels featured successful women and girl entrepreneurs working a wide range of fields, then gave girls the opportunity to get one-on-one mentoring sessions following each panel. Sports and fitness classes let girls shoot hoops with the Golden State Warriors, learn self-defense, practice yoga, and do soccer drills. Fifteen girl entrepreneurs sold products in a Pop-Up Shop by Girls Crushing It.

WorldWideWomen is the global center of information and services for women. The online platform connects women with over 6,000 listings of valuable organizations and services exclusively for women in 24 major cities in 13 countries around the world. The Girls’ Festival was launched to bring the website to life in local communities — connecting girls with valuable local resources to positively impact their lives. Their goal is to take the festival on the road to major cities around the world.

“We have assembled a world-class group of experts, professionals, and over 70 local and global organizations to showcase their programs and services to inspire and motivate girls to be all that they can imagine,” explains WorldWideWomen Founder and CEO Maureen Broderick. “Our festivals are powerful — many say life-changing — days for girls. Our event is an important and positive antidote to all the negative news and events impacting women in the United States and around the world.”

Over 300 girls from underserved communities around the greater Bay Area — Marin City, Vallejo, Oakland, Salinas, and Palo Alto — who would otherwise not be able to attend the event were bused to the festival as guests for the day. “We do this every year,” says Broderick. “It is so important to connect these girls to all of the amazing resources and opportunities they will experience at the festival — it opens their minds to new career paths and possibilities to pursue. They were able to attend the festival thanks to a Go Fund Me campaign, thanks to the donation of three large coach buses. One of the groups that was bused in was Marin City’s Performing Stars who brought 60 girls and chaperones to the festivities.

The philanthropic event featured a powerhouse lineup of 100 activities hosted by top Bay Area corporations and organizations including ABC7, Accenture, Black Girls Code, Cisco, Gilead, Girl ScoutsSanta Clara University School of Engineering, The Computer History Museum, The Tech Museum, Thermo Fisher, Salesforce, and more.

The event did not directly raise funds beyond covering its costs, but it gave back in droves by benefitting the girls who attended.

WorldWideWomen Girls’ Festival: Chhandam Youth Company Kathak Dance Performance

Chhandam Youth Company Kathak Dance Performance

WorldWideWomen Girls’ Festival: Imani Cezanne

Imani Cezanne, Youth Speaks Spoken Word

WorldWideWomen Girls’ Festival: Main Stage

Main Stage Audience at the Girls’ Festival

WorldWideWomen Girls’ Festival: Computer History Museum Programming Workshop

Computer History Museum Programming Workshop

WorldWideWomen Girls’ Festival: Thermo Fisher Scientific Strawberry DNA Extraction Workshop

Thermo Fisher Scientific Strawberry DNA Extraction Workshop