Message from the Executive Director
Gale McKoy Wilkins
Gale McKoy Wilkins
Executive Director

Executive Director's letter

May 2014

Recently Parade magazine featured three amazing women leaders: former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, and Girl Scouts CEO and author of the book Lean In, Anna Maria Chavez. These women want parents, educators and girls to change the conversation about girls and leadership. A Girls Scouts’ study of 8-17 year olds revealed that one-third of girls said they didn’t want to be leaders because they feared being disliked by their peers. The Ban Bossy campaign aims to change the language and stereotypes and empower girls to stand up and speak out.  As a very outspoken woman, I applaud the Ban Bossy campaign and share with you a few of the tips listed in the article for creating a new dialogue with girls:

  1. Help girls commit small acts of assertiveness. Parents should sit with their daughters and create a list of ways she can use her voice (e.g., raising her hand in class or ordering in a restaurant).
  2. Parents should encourage girls to stop apologizing when they’re not at fault. Girls tend to introduce opinions with apologies (e.g., “I’m not sure if this is right, but…”). Pay attention to that and other ways they make themselves small.
  3. Log onto to learn more and continue the discussion.

May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month and throughout the month teens and communities will see information about teen pregnancy prevention, as well as resources to help programs continue the momentum of preventing teen pregnancy. As a sponsor of the landmark work by IWPR to compile and release results of the Status of Women in North Carolina, the Council for Women is interested in this topic and dating violence.

Research shows that NC’s teen pregnancy has steadily declined in recent years from 76.1 per 1,000 births for teens ages 15-19 in 2000, to 49.7 per 1,000 births for teens of the same age range. Teen pregnancy rates vary across NC counties: Robeson, Richmond, Onslow and Scotland have the highest rates; and Orange, Jackson, Watauga and Pitt have the lowest.

Join the federal DHHS’ Office of Adolescent Health’s sponsored webinar on May 7, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. to learn more about current strategies and available resources.  Copies of the Status of Women in North Carolina are available at