Date: 12 Mar 2011

Every Girl Is a Leader: Organizing for Political Life in Chicago

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Editors’ Introduction

The inspiration that can be found in the emergence of grass-roots leadership movements is continued in this chapter. It is unfortunate that the literature on leadership focuses almost exclusively on adults. In the process, much of the relational dynamic that informs grass-roots leadership movements are lost from sight. McCartney analyses the emergence of leadership in girls between the ages of 12 and 23 in community-based organizations that address horrendous challenges in poor communities. These women self-organize and lead within their communities rather than depending on more institutional and top-down interventions, and do so with surprising success. They thus demonstrate the tenacity and capabilities of women even in adverse conditions. What characterize these leadership initiatives is its basis in caring relationships, and the clear message it sends that any girl can, and should be a leader.