Girls for Gender Equity
3 min readMar 25, 2024



Girls for Gender Equity and youth organizations across New York City assembled to develop recommendations for the New York City Council on mental health, nutrition, reproductive justice, and school climate

NEW YORK — On Wednesday, March 13 during her State of The City address, New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams announced the Council’s commitment to advance recommendations developed during the Young Women’s Initiative (YWI) 2.0 convening. Youth leaders will work with City Council members, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health to address school climate, mental health, nutrition, and reproductive access and education issues impacting young people in New York City.

Former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito first launched the YWI in May 2015, which became the nation’s first initiative dedicated to improving outcomes for young women, girls, and gender-expansive youth. Eight years later, on May 8, 2023, Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) joined New York City Council Speaker Adams and the New York Women’s Foundation to launch “YWI 2.0.” GGE, alongside Sadie Nash Leadership Project, The Brotherhood Sister Sol (Bro/Sis), and Staten Island Urban Center, hosted issues-based working groups, where youth organizers led discussions around current issues and developed recommendations for legislators and city agencies.

“We are thrilled to join New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams in announcing the great collaborative work we have done since last year’s launch of the Young Women’s Initiative (YWI) 2.0,” said Quadira Coles, Director of Policy of Girls for Gender Equity (GGE). “This partnership marks a significant milestone in our commitment to empower Black girls and gender expansive youth of color and advance a racial and gender equity agenda that prioritizes their immediate, and self-identified needs. YWI 2.0 is a call to action for elected officials and philanthropists to invest in girls and gender expansive youth of color at the same rate they have historically invested in boys of color. Nearly ten years after YWI’s inception, we are still creating a pathway for youth engagement and leadership in advocacy so that they are actively shaping policies and initiatives that impact their lives and securing investments to help them succeed.”

In her 2024 State of the City address, Speaker Adams highlighted the priorities that emerged from the YWI listening sessions. The Council will examine the current nutrition and sexual education curricula in schools through oversight hearings and will consider legislation requiring City agencies to conduct an education and outreach campaign on reproductive and sexual health. Speaker Adams also announced efforts to support the development of peer-to-peer wellness groups and more robust information channels for promoting mental and emotional health resources for students and families.

“When we listen to Black girls and young people of color, we can set them up for success, provide access to opportunity, and enable all children, families, and communities across New York City to thrive,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “This historic women-majority Council continues to build on the work that former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito started by launching the Council’s Young Women’s Initiative 2.0, placing our youth leaders front and center in creating solutions to better serve them. I look forward to advancing this work in the coming months, and I thank former Speaker Mark-Viverito, my Council colleagues, Girls for Gender Equity, and all our partners for their dedication to furthering this critical programming.”

With this investment and support from the Council, GGE will continue to expand on the vision of the Young Women’s Initiative through its Young Women’s Advisory Council Program, which engages Black girls and gender-expansive young people of color in the work of informing institutional change by giving expert testimony, building policy recommendations, and organizing for the transformative change they deem necessary to live self-determined lives, with full expression, safety, and freedom.

About Girls for Gender Equity: Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) works intergenerationally, through a Black feminist lens, to center the leadership of Black girls and gender-expansive young people of color in reshaping culture and policy through advocacy, youth-centered programming, and narrative shift to achieve gender and racial justice.




Girls for Gender Equity

Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) is an intergenerational organization centering the leadership of cis and trans Black girls and gender-expansive youth of color.