What Girls Need: How to Raise Bold, Courageous, and Resilient Women

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  • By: Marisa Porges, PhD
  • 2021 | Paperback
  • ISBN is 9781984879165 / 1984879162
  • Publisher: Penguin Books

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“A powerful book about how we can raise girls to become bold, ambitious women.” –Adam Grant. What do girls really need to succeed? Children today face an uncertain future, and parents and teachers can’t fully predict what’s in store for their daughter and sons. But one thing is clear: Our kids need a new set of skills to succeed. Girls, in particular, must nurture essential traits to fully flourish. Students hit the ground running today, entering a school system that carries high expectations on their way to a college application process that is more demanding than ever. After school, young women enter a competitive job market, still complicated by sexism and the possibility of harassment. But the ways we define leadership are also changing, and the women stepping into those roles are mapping new paths to inhabiting traits like grit, resilience, audacity, and self-confidence. What Girls Need shows how parents and educators can foster these critical twenty-first-century skills in our girls and help them to recognize and nurture their inherent strengths—to not just thrive but also find joy and purpose as they come of age in our ever-evolving world. As a student at the all-girls Baldwin School outside of Philadelphia, Marisa Porges grew up in a community designed to produce strong, independent women. After graduating from Harvard, she fulfilled her childhood dream of flying jets off aircraft carriers for the U.S. Navy and served as a counterterrorism expert in Afghanistan and a cybersecurity advisor in the Obama White House. Then in 2016, in an unexpected move for someone whose ambitions had taken her so far from home, Porges returned to head the Baldwin School. In doing so, she saw how small moments in her early education gave her the tools she needed to excel in a “man’s world.” Combining compelling research, personal stories, and practical advice on timely questions, Porges delves into hot-button subjects like how to harness girls’ voices and boost girls’ self-esteem, and shows how little things have a big impact when nurturing vital skills like competitiveness, collaboration, empathy, and adaptability. What Girls Need empowers us to support the next generation of women so they can confidently hold their own no matter what the future has in store.

About the Author:

Marisa Porges, PhD

Marisa Porges, PhD, is the eighth Head of School for The Baldwin School, a 130-year-old all girls school outside of Philadelphia renowned for academic excellence and for preparing girls to be leaders and change-makers. Dr. Porges served in the Obama White House; was a visiting fellow at Harvard Kennedy School and the Council on Foreign Relations, where her research focused on worldwide counterterrorism efforts; and served in the U.S. Navy as one of eight female aviators in an air wing of two hundred. She lives in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, with her family.

What Girls Need by Marisa Porges, PhD, read by Thérèse Plummer

What Girls Need by Marisa Porges, PhD Reviews:

“This is destined to be a powerful book about how we can raise girls to become bold, ambitious women. The ideas are captivating, the stories are gripping, and Marisa Porges is the perfect person to write it.”—Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals, Give and Take, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg

“[Porges] combines the skills and life lessons she brought to the job with what she has learned from it, and helps us understand how to better nurture young girls and young women and prepare them to succeed in a world still too often stacked against them.” —Porchlight Books

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