Women’s History Month is as much a time to look to the future as it is to celebrate the past for the YWCA of Carlisle as it prepares to unveil its Girls Empowerment Photography Project.
The portraits in the project depict area girls in a number of male-dominated careers. A reception and exhibition for the project is planned for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at the YWCA of Carlisle, 301 G St.
“We’re looking forward to creating the next chapter of history, and we feel this project does that,” said Robin Scaer, executive director of the YWCA.
The girls featured in the photos will appear as welders, engineers, construction workers, physicians, surgeons, lawyers, accountants, investment brokers, computer engineers, chefs, scientists, professors, judges, mathematicians, professional athletes, law enforcement officers, military officers, entrepreneurs, EMTs, paramedics, pilots and politicians — including the president.
“That’s not to say there aren’t women currently in these fields, but they certainly aren’t the majority,” Scaer said.
The YWCA originally worked with Ginny Boynton on the project. Erin McCombie of EGM Photography and Mary Ramirez of Mary Ramirez Photography also joined the effort.
“These photographers and our staff made them feel so good about themselves, and I think that comes out in these pictures,” Scaer said.
The project gives girls in the YWCA’s GirlPower! and LEAD programs the opportunity to showcase themselves in careers that have been, and continue to be, dominated by men.
Scaer said the project does not take away from other, more traditionally female-dominated careers that girls might want to pursue. The project is to support those careers and positions in which women are not the majority, and helping them to feel the confidence to follow their chosen career path.
It’s also vital to have systems in place to provide the access and capacity to make them successful in following that choice, she said.
“It’s one thing for people to have a dream. It’s very much another thing to be able to follow that path,” Scaer said.
Girls participating in the photo shoot chose which career path they wanted to represent, and were outfitted with uniforms and props from local businesses. The same background was used for each photo with only the props and the message on the signboard changing to reflect the career depicted.
Throughout the weekend photo shoot, the girls were interviewed for quotes that will be featured in the exhibit, Scaer said. The quotes from those interviews explore their motivation and self-image as well as their feelings on portraying a certain career and the things youths today want to, and should be, doing.
Though the exhibit is being created as part of Women’s History Month, it does have a longer shelf life from future exhibition at the YWCA building to social media use to use in presentations at area schools.
“You can not help but look at these and just feel a sense of hope and encouragement, and pure joy for these girls and what they can be and what they should be,” Scaer said.