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Women’s Resource Center Celebrates 20 Years of Activism

The Women’s Resource Center at the University of Maine, lead organization for the Maine Girls Collaborative Project, has been selected as one of just three sites nationally to pilot FabFems, a collaborative program aimed at strengthening interest regionally among middle school and high school girls in careers in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

The announcement comes as the Women’s Resource Center marks its 20th anniversary. The center supports the interests of women and girls on issues that include career development, pay equity, reproductive rights and violence prevention.

FabFems will recruit groups of girls statewide to participate after school and over the summer in live, online discussions with professional women working in STEM careers. With training and support from FabFems, participating professionals will discuss their own careers, dispel stereotypes and encourage girls to pursue STEM coursework and careers. The pilot will run through the end of September, 2012. FabFems is funded by the National Girls Collaborative Project, the Motorola Solutions Foundation, Platform Shoes Forum, and the Smith College Summer Science and Engineering Program.

In recognition of the anniversary of the Women’s Resource Center, Lyn Mikel Brown, a community activist and professor of education and human development at Colby College, will give a public talk at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 12 at UMaine’s Buchanan Alumni House. An expert on the social and psychological development of girls, Brown will speak on the importance of empowering girls to take control of their lives and to assume leadership roles in countering negative cultural attitudes toward girls and women. Her talk is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a reception.

Brown is the author and co-author of several books, including “Meeting at the Crossroads: Women’s Psychology and Girls’ Development,” a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; “Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers’ Schemes”; and most recently, “Packaging Boyhood: Saving Our Sons from Superheroes, Slackers and Other Media Stereotypes.”

In 2000, Brown spent a year at UMaine as a scholar-in-residence associated with the Women’s Resource Center. That collaboration, funded with a national grant from AAUW, led her to research and write the book, “Girlfighting: Betrayal and Rejection Among Girls,” published in 2005.

Brown received her doctorate from Harvard University in Human Development and Psychology and was a founding member of the Harvard Project on Women’s Psychology and Girls’ Development. She is the co-sponsor of the SPARK movement – Sexualization Protest: Action, Resistance, Knowledge – aimed at supporting girls’ healthy sexual development. She also is the founder of Hardy Girls, Healthy Women, a Maine-based nonprofit that works with communities and organizations to promote activism and critical thinking among girls and the adults who support them.

The Women’s Resource Center was founded in 1992 with a mission of supporting women’s issues at the University of Maine and around the state. There will be a reception and book signing after Brown’s presentation, followed by a celebration of the Women’s Resource Center’s 20 years at the University of Maine. Visit the center on line for more information.

Contact: Meg Haskell, 207-581-3766

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