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Holliston - Local Town Pages

Metrowest Women’s Fund Announces A Needs Assessment of Middle School Girls: Metrowest

 The Metrowest Women’s Fund, in partnership with the Center for Social Research at Framingham State University, conducted a Needs Assessment of Middle School Girls: Metrowest. The report, which can be found at identifies the needs of girls in Metrowest and produces critical data on issue areas including emotional and mental health, self- image, gender identity, social relationships, physical activity and COVID concerns. 
The Report states that middle school is a critical juncture for all girls and especially those of low and moderate income who have limited access to resources ranging from menstrual health to mental health services. 
“The Metrowest Women’s Fund initiated a needs assessment of middle school girls in Metrowest to provide needed data and ultimately to help girls thrive,” said Rebecca Parkhill, Co-Founder of the Metrowest Women’s Fund. 
The goals of the study, identified in the report, were to ascertain the needs of middle school girls in Metrowest and to identify unmet needs. An electronic questionnaire regarding the needs of middle school girls was prepared in 2020. In January and early February 2021, the questionnaire was sent to principals from 37 middle schools in the Metrowest catchment area. The response rate of 54% (principals at twenty of the thirty-seven schools responded) was strong. The report presents the results of the survey. 
The greatest areas of concern are as follows:
1. Mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety, are of considerable concern. Issues with self-esteem and bullying are associated with both depression and anxiety.  In addition, depression was found to be associated with dating violence, obesity, issues with gender identity, sleeping difficulties and lack of exercise/physical activity. An additional factor associated with anxiety was issues with self-assurance/feeling competent.
2. Three aspects of self-image issues are of considerable concern: body image, self-esteem, and feeling competent/self-assured.  
3. In terms of social issues and relationships, bullying is of moderate concern and peer pressure is of considerable concern.
4. More than half (58.3%) of the respondents said the services provided were NOT adequate to meet the needs of middle school girls. 
5. Half of respondents felt the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting alterations in academic conditions would create problems for girls with respect to academic issues, including a lack of confidence in educational abilities. 
The Metrowest Women’s Fund invests in women and girls through education, community building, grantmaking and strategic partnerships. Our mission is to identify the needs of women and girls in the Metrowest and raise resources to meet those needs. Our mission includes educating the community about the critical needs of women and girls from low incomes.