Announcements, FAQs, Our mission

Girls’ Voices Matter featured at Miss Independent!


It’s an honor to be featured at the blog of Miss Independent! Read about the origins of Girls’ Voices Matter, why the program is just for girls, and how we can address the lack of women all aspects of film, from directing to acting to cinematography. While you’re there, read about the many inspirational women profiled at the site. I especially enjoyed this poignant account of the author’s visit to The House of Anne Frank in Amsterdam. 

Thank you to Bridget Gorham, aka Miss Independent, for featuring Girls’ Voices Matter.

Announcements, FAQs

The Corona Virus Outbreak: Here’s What We’re Doing


Keeping safe

During the corona virus epidemic, Girls’ Voices Matter has cancelled all of its remaining March events. We may also need to cancel or postpone our class, Digital Photography, scheduled for Ophelia’s Place in May 2020.

As of this writing, we are still planning to offer our Summer 2020 Workshops.

We will inform you of any changes as soon as we know. Thanks for your patience.

Keeping busy

We’ve compiled a list of online photography and video resources for students and parents (see below).

At our Instagram page, we’re sharing a creative idea for video and photography every day.

At Facebook, we share inspiring stories about the accomplishments of women and girls.

We’re working on an online version of our presentation, “Women Filmmakers of the Pacific Northwest.” It will be available at our website as soon as it’s complete.

We hope to have a YouTube channel up soon with video instruction.

Empowering Girls

Why Girls Lose Confidence in Their Teen Years and What Parents Can Do About It

When I was ten years old, I wanted to be a musician, a dancer, a mom, a poet, and an explorer. Only three years later, the bright future I’d imagined for myself seemed unattainable. By the age of thirteen, I’d become acutely aware of the limitations our culture places on women and girls. Even though my parents never told me I couldn’t do something because I was a girl, I felt the weight of the patriarchy pushing me down.

As a teenager and young woman, that weight seriously undermined my confidence. In my early teens, I still played music, wrote songs and poems, took dance lessons, and went on trips, but as I got older, I absorbed society’s message that unless I was better than everyone else, especially boys, I might as well give up. That hit to my self-esteem took years to overcome.

The problem of girls losing confidence in early adolescence is better understood today than when I was a teen, but it still accounts for high rates of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and self-harming behavior. Today’s teen girls must cope with pressures unheard of during my adolescence: social media, texting, and never-ending images of Photo-shopped beauty.

I was encouraged when I read “Girls’ Confidence Plummets Starting at Age 8: Here’s How to Keep Her Confidence Strong” at one of my favorite websites, A Mighty Girl. Authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman have written The Confidence Code for Girls (HarperCollins, 2018), a book that “teaches girls to embrace risk, deal with failure, and be their most authentic selves” (quoted from the book’s description).

Here are some key points, which I’ve quoted from the article:


  • Risk-taking: “It’s impossible to build confidence staying in a comfort zone, only doing what you are already good at doing.”
  • A social media compromise: “Parents should insist that their daughters follow four women who are working in areas that interest them and then see where that takes them.”
  • For fathers: “We’ve learned that dads are better at accurately gauging their child’s confidence than moms are, regardless of gender.”
  • Be an imperfect role model: “Show your daughter what it means to screw up and then recover from it. If we are busy trying to be perfect, that is what our daughters will most notice, no matter how many books on confidence we hand her.”
  • Positive thinking: “Curbing rumination, catastrophizing and negative thinking is equally essential.”


The good news is that girls can and do recover from their adolescent confidence deficits. For example, once I accepted that I didn’t need to be perfect, I tried all kinds of things, from making my own videos to writing books to starting a business. I made huge mistakes, had amazing adventures, and succeeded—but not all, or even half of the time. I learned the most from my mistakes.

As the authors of The Confidence Code for Girls state, “Confidence hinges on action. And that process, which usually involves some struggle and failure as well, is what creates more confidence.”

What new thing will you try today?

Animation, Empowering Girls

Girls Design and Play Their Own Video Games

We had fun and learned some of the basics of computer commands during Scratch Programming for Girls on February 20, 2020 at Ophelia’s Place, where students created their own “chase” games using the free program Scratch. Choosing from motion, looks, sound, backdrops and more, students used their imaginations and creativity to animate characters that ranged from squirrels to a loaf of bread!

Claire Graman led the class, starting off with a short PowerPoint presentation. Claire showed the girls photos of Ada Lovelace, who was the world’s first computer programmer, and Melba Ray Mouton, head mathematician and programmer at


Claire Graman at Ophelia’s Place

NASA, who coded the spaceship trajectories in the 1960s. Then, Claire defined programming, which is, simply put, telling a computer what to do. She demonstrating basic If/Then/Else logic, reminding the class that computers aren’t very smart, and that they should be patient and try again if something didn’t work right away.

The girls started out creating a sprite, and then added commands to make something happen to the sprite based on certain conditions. For example, if the player presses the left arrow, the sprite moves to the left. The girls made their characters run, leap, flip, glide and chase. Much hilarity ensued!IMG_4211

Our next offering at Ophelia’s Place will be Digital Photography on May 6 at 4:30 pm. More details coming soon!

Animation, Empowering Girls

Fun With Flipbooks at Ophelia’s Place

On January 28, 2020, Girls’ Voices Matter lit up the classroom at Ophelia’s Place! It was rainy and cold outside, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the girls who attended GVM’s first Flipbook Animation Class. Using Post-It notes, numbered pre-made blank flipbooks, light-powered tracing boards, and colored pens, students made their own flipbooks, drawing a 2-second, 24 frame animated flower.

IMG_4163Claire Graman started us off with an introduction to animation. Using the famous example of “the horse question”—in 1876, Edward Muybridge used a series of photographs to prove that during a gallop, all four of a horse’s legs left the ground at the same time—Claire explained how a series of moving pictures, whether film or drawings, creates the illusion of movement. From the very first animated films to video games, Claire told the class that women have always been involved in this art form, and that it was once believed that women were better colorists than men, since women have better color vision!

The girls started out with a warm-up exercise of drawing a moving dot, then a stick figure waving its arm. They then started working on the flipbook, using LED tracing boards to carefully draw each frame. In the flipbook, a flower pops out of the ground; the girls drew red, pink, and purple flowers emerging from green grass.

At the end of class, each girl finished her flipbook with a cover, and bound it with ribbons.


Claire Graman giving introduction.

We had a wonderful time, and look forward to teaching our next class at Ophelia’s Place, Scratch Game Programming for Girls!

Announcements, Women in Film

Girls’ Voices Matter receives Oregon Cultural Trust Grant

I’m very happy to report that Girls’ Voices Matter has received a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust! The grant will help us bring our program, “Women Filmmakers of the Pacific Northwest,” to libraries and other public spaces around Lane County.

Here’s our schedule so far:

Monday, March 2, 4:30-5:00 – Ophelia’s Place, Eugene

Tuesday, March 3, 4:30-5:30 – Creswell Library, Creswell

Wednesday, March 4, 4:30-5:30 – Cottage Grove Library, Cottage Grove

Saturday, March 7, 2:00-4:30 – Springfield Library, Springfield. Come a join us for a fun afternoon with popcorn and pizza as we watch American Teen, directed by Nanette Burstein, followed by our presentation!

Tuesday, March 10, 6:00-7:00 pm – Eugene Library, Singer Room (second floor), Downtown Branch

Thursday, March 12, 7:00-8:00 pm – South Eugene High School

Thursday, March 19, 9:00-10:00 am – Sweet Home High School, Sweet Home

Tuesday, March 24, 6:30-7:30 pm – Fern Ridge Library, Veneta

Tuesday, March 31, 7:00-8:00 pm – Cascade Manor, Eugene

We’ll be adding more venues, so check back or subscribe to the blog.


If you would like to have Girls’ Voices Matter bring our program to your school, library or community center, please contact Erica Goss, Director

The program is free and open to adults and teens.

Hope to see you there!

Download 5 Ways Storytelling Empowers Teen Girls.

We wish to thank the Oregon Cultural Trust for their support of “Women Filmmakers of the Pacific Northwest.”

We believe in girls.

Empowering Girls

Ten Ways to Help Girls in 2020



Here are ten ways we can help girls in the New Year.

  1. Be a role model. Insist that women be promoted into positions of power. If you are an employer, make sure women have access to the same opportunities as men.
  2. Volunteer at a non-profit that helps girls. Ophelia’s Place, Girl Scouts, National Girls Collaborative, and Girls Who Code all accept volunteers.
  3. Listen when girls talk. “We live in a world that historically celebrates and elevates experiences and processes that relate to men—while undermining and shaming those that do not.” – 2020forgirls.
  4. Stand up for girls. Challenge sexism when you encounter it. Call out degrading comments when you hear them. Don’t just let them slide.
  5. Get the global perspective. Learn what other countries are doing to help empower girls. Girl Rising, Global Girls Glow, The Malala Fund, and Campaign for Female Education help girls around the world.
  6. Share your stories. Stories are how we connect and learn. Letting a girl know that you, too, struggled with something can help her persevere when things get difficult.
  7. Support girls-only spaces. Without gender-based competition, girls are allowed to be center stage.
  8. Choose kindness. Tell your daughter, niece, sister, or mother how much you appreciate them.
  9. Encourage girls to take risks and make mistakes. When girls have the same opportunities as boys to explore, get messy, and experiment, they grow stronger and more confident. They are far more likely to think for themselves instead of accepting someone else’s opinion.
  10. Let girls be girls! Girls have their own way of approaching problems, communicating, and learning. Celebrate their unique abilities and intelligence. “Like a girl” should not be an insult!

Download 5 Ways Storytelling Empowers Teen Girls.

Empowering Girls, Our mission



Every teen girl needs encouragement to take on new challenges, handle stress, set goals, and develop a healthy sense of self.

At Girls’ Voices Matter, we celebrate and respect teen girls. We understand their need for acceptance and their growing independence. Our core values reflect our beliefs in the potential of every girl:

  • Teamwork. Each girl is a valued part of a creative team.
  • Trust. Our students learn to trust themselves and their intuitions.
  • Courage. We create a safe space for our students to explore what interests them.
  • Creativity. We believe that every girl has talent.
  • It’s ok to make mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn, grow, and discover new things.

Our list of core values reflects our mottos: “Every girl matters” and “We believe in girls.” We truly believe that the creative potential of teen girls is a major force for good in the world.

Download 5 Ways Storytelling Empowers Teen Girls.