Posted by: lindsayhendrix12 | January 29, 2015

Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls

Actor and writer Amy Poehler and producer Meredith Walker created a web series that empowered young women to be the best version of themselves rather then giving into societal pressure of “fitting in”. The web series won awards such as the Webby award for content but the creators want to do more. Thus Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls organization was made. This organization includes a website to encourage girls to engage in “volunteerism, civic activism, cultural exchange, and self-expression” but the movement does not stop there. There are also summer camps where girls between the age of 14 to 18 can attend to participate in activities “designed to teach relational aggression, critical thinking, social justice or one’s own ability to create change for good”.

I was inspired while visiting the site and reading about the programs and campaigns. When I growing up there has always been a push for young girls to be more involved in math and the hard sciences which is great but it does not necessarily empower girls to be leaders. This campaign, the first of it’s kind, is focused on grooming young women to better citizens, better people, and in return better leaders. To have the motto: Change the World by Being Yourself is beyond motivating for young women. They are being told, probably for the first time, that they did not need to be more masculine or more feminine to be a leader. They can become leaders because they are the best people for the job and the best citizens to make a change in the world. They are reminded that they are not prohibited and hindered in any way because they are women and they are not given anything simply because they are women, but they are learning to be called to action because they are intellectual, socially conscious, generous people. I hope to see how this program affects our future generations.

A link to the site:


  1. Kuddos for Amy Poehler and Meredith Walker for creating a positive outlet for young girls to engage in! It is a breath of fresh air to see women who are not pushing young girls into fitting into stereotypes. This is definitely a step in the right direction towards creating gender equality. Now if we could just make a similar organization for boys, or better yet, make one for both girls and boys! I think change starts with education. If we start to encourage others the same ideals as the Smart Girls campaign, I believe that we could launch ourselves on a faster track towards creating gender equality.

  2. This site is amazing and I wish I had it in middle school! One of my favorite components to the “Smart Girls” project is the personal atmosphere that I felt looking through different tabs on the site. I think it’s important to create an environment for young girls while they’re going through the “middle school” years because that’s when girl’s are really trying to develop their own identities. If girls grow up being told that they can aspire to any career field they so choose to take on, they will still remain confident in themselves even when they receive backlash for the courageous choices because they have the confidence in themselves. Empowerment is an important value to instill in others because it not only develops strong personas, but those who choose to go out on a limb to stand up for a decision they make will remain confident in themselves regardless of the outcome.

  3. I love this! This is something I would be extremely proud to take part in. I have been thinking a lot about my twelve year old sister at home and how she is already being shaped and programmed by societal gender norms. How will those shape her future as a woman, a leader, a career person?
    Just scrolling through this site and seeing “Let’s Hold Hands and Punch the Glass Ceiling” and other like that is really encouraging because not only is this site empowering young girls, but it is also educating them about relevant issues that they will have to begin facing if they have not already.
    I wonder how much better off I would be if I had had this direct influence during my middle school years. I hope to follow this movement and see how far it goes. It seems to be gaining momentum and fans!

  4. I have always really looked up to Amy Poehler as a female leader. I’ve always thought that her comedy and sense of humor, as well as Tina Fey’s, have brought women to the forefront of comedy. It’s always seemed to me that women are not considered “funny” at least not in the way that men are. In my experience, women are only funny in a “cute” way or in a “dumb” way, whereas men can be witty and clever and make people laugh with them rather than at them. It surprised me to see that Amy is also involved with such an empowering program like the one you wrote about. That also really inspires me because I am deeply interested in biological sciences and have found myself to be far more motivated and natural when it comes to the hard sciences than most men that I know. As a woman growing up with interest in medicine and biology, there has been nothing more motivating and inspiring to me than renowned and incredibly intelligent women in the field of science, so I’m so excited to learn about this program for inspiring other young girls to take part in the hard sciences. I think that programs like this one can really make a difference for the future of the scientific field.

  5. I love Amy Poehler, an this makes me like her even more!I’

    This is incredibly inspiring to me and young women. I’m personally a science major and my classes are dominated by men. This is encouraging and makes me want to pursue my goals even more so.

    Amy is encouraging women to become leaders. This is what we need!
    She herself is a leader in Hollywood, and she is a role model to young women. She is a great representation for young women who want to pursue that type of career. When you think of comedians, most of the time you think of Kevin Hart or some other man. Amy, a woman, is a refreshing comedian.

    I’m in full support of encouraging young women to be who they want to be, a science major, a Hollywood actor; but if we want to pursue leadership roles in life, we need to see real women leaders. We need to see it in real life, it makes it attainable. I think the lack of
    this may cause women to “opt out” of leadership roles because we are afraid to, or its uncommon.

    Kudos to Amy. Embrace who you are.

  6. I think this is a super great organization and idea! The fact women made an organization for young girls to empower them to be leaders no matter what. I know many little girls will grow up and feel pressured b societal expectations and put their dreams on a shelf or scrap them altogether because society tells them they can’t be leaders. But I think girls everywhere have a chance so long as we are fighting for them everyday. I think this foundation should be supported by parents everywhere and should be used for all children to show them they can be leaders and maximize their chances for success. I know my sister is already a great leader to her gymnastics team, and I think going to this summer camp would be a valuable experience for her. I wish I was able to go at that age as well. I wonder if I would be a better or more successful leader if I had. I think even if girls don’t know about this the values behind it of empowerment, and social justice and cultural understanding is essential to the success of a leader. I find this to be an awesome movement that I can fully support. I wonder what sort of ideas could even improve upon this more!

  7. This is a fantastic campaign! I was always told, as well, that women were needed to be more scientists or mathematics. I mean it’s great that people are telling us that we can be more than princesses and secretaries, but the empowerment to just be you, without restrictions masculine or feminine, is a significantly better route. Also having a girls camp is a great idea because, like we were talking in class, girls are the most harsh on girls. So having a program that can teach us all to be leaders in the company of our harshest judges is brilliant. Also I just saw that commercial for Always that has the #likeagirl campaign and, like they say, a girl’s confidence and self-esteem plummets during puberty so that age range is perfect for confidence building while learning to be leaders. We’re making progress but we can’t stop there.

  8. These women, encouraging young women and girls to change the world by being themselves, is what I hope is the start to breaking down the walls of the labyrinth. Calling smart girls to action to become curious about the world is an innovative take on encouraging girls to become interested in the world. I see this as a step closer to having female leaders in leadership positions in the STEM areas, just like creating toys for female engineers. It also provides an alternative site for girls to seek intelligence over gossip. To show girls what real women look like and that being smart is attractive and they are welcome to be themselves. This is the beginning of building a generation of women who gain a real sense of self and can then become women that are able to lead confidently, and backed by a community of women just like them.

  9. I think this really speaks to the idea of degendering leadership. Instead of focusing on whether a woman has to be feminine or masculine in order to be a good leader in a certain field it is saying that women can be great leaders because of who they are. It brings a great point about how leadership shouldn’t be looked at as masculine or feminine, instead we should be looking at the qualifications and characteristics that make a person a great leader regardless of gender. I do not know if it is possible to ever separate leadership and gender because when you look at someone you naturally categorize them into female or male. I do think that is good to instill the idea that leadership is based upon characteristics and not gender. I love the idea of this program because some girls shy away from leadership roles because they have been told they aren’t good leaders and can’t be good leaders. It’s important to empower women from the start, so that if they choose to be a leader they have the confidence to do so.

  10. Amy Poehler’s organization, Smart Girls, represents a new societal trend towards educating women, with the goal of preparing them for leadership roles. Several similar programs have been started across the United States. Although I personally support such programs, I can see two main arguments that may be aimed against them. First, programs like Smart Girls cater exclusively to women. Rather than working to integrate young men and women and teach them how to lead in a unisex context, women are separate from their male counterparts. Although there are differences in early childhood socialization leading to differences in educational and emotional needs, both boys and girls could benefit from the differences in points of view and perceptions that each individual offers. The second issue that may arise from such a program is that they seem to be aimed towards preparing women to hold leadership positions in non-profit organizations and NGOs rather than preparing them to hold positions in Government or Business. Rather than encouraging traditional, borderline sociopathic leadership that is most typically associated with businesses, Smart Girls and other similar program teach values like intelligence, social consciousness, and generosity. Ultimately, I am not sure how the aforementioned concerns regarding Poehler’s program will affect the success of those who graduate from it, or if either will have any effect at all. This said, such programs will likely have a positive effect on women in leadership, especially when spearheaded by intelligent and strong social icons, like Amy Poehler.

  11. I commend Amy Poehler for using her popularity as a comedian to create a platform for bettering females. Many celebrities donate money to charity, but the fact the created her own organization to reach out and impact the community of young women is inspiring. Not only is she helping girls become leaders, but she’s setting the example for the rest of society to understand her impact and hopefully follow her lead. Additionally, her new book is a best seller, with a message of taking chances, but in a positive mindset to allow change to happen through her own history. Her example of leadership is inspiring and smart. Amy is using her stage of humor and lightheartedness to appeal to the feminist stance while not ‘offending’ the opposing side. The appeal of humor allows her to discuss serious issues that women face while masking the heaviness that it entails, gaining the attention of society almost subliminally. I hope she continues to impact young women’s lives and through her impact, young women collectively can help change negative perceptions of feminism.

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