"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.
“An insightful guidebook for parents, teachers, and all young women.” —Booklist