Addressing Sexual Harassment in New York City Public Schools

Changing school culture toward sexual harassment through youth-led education, policy enforcement, and policy advocacy

Dates of Project: November 15, 2009—November 14, 2012

Description: Responding to its research indicating that sexual harassment is a problem in New York City schools but is rarely discussed there, Girls for Gender Equity formed an intergenerational coalition of youth, educators, parents, and policymakers to end gender-based violence in the schools and to ”create an expectation of gender equality.” The Coalition for Gender Equity in Schools worked to educate youth, parents, and educators about the issue of sexual harassment and advocated for policies to combat it. Much of the work was done by the students themselves, utilizing the Participatory Action Research approach.

Key Results

  • Coalition youth organizers led some 100 sexual harassment prevention and gender respect workshops for 1,475 youth and youth educators.

  • Thirty-seven youth ages 10–13 conducted research on sexual harassment in a Brooklyn middle school.

  • Coalition staff and youth participated in national, state, and local task forces dealing with sexual harassment in the schools.

“It’s important that this project isn’t coming from me or a Harvard researcher but from actual participants and students from the schools.”—Joanne N. Smith, Executive Director

LFP 67096 N.Fields photo

Nathania Fields
Sisters in Strength member

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Coalition for Gender Equity in Schools: Many students don't know how to report sexual harassment. #GGENYC