Joanne N. Smith

Girls for Gender Equity
Founder and Executive Director

Key Topics: Engaging girls in community organizing, Engaging youth in participatory action research, Ending violence against girls and women, Combatting sexual harassment and gender based violence in schools, Youth development, Nonprofit management, Strategic planning.

Bio: Joanne N. Smith, is responsible for moving Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) closer to its mission through strategic planning, development, and leadership cultivation. Ms. Smith is a Haitian-American social worker born in New York City. She founded GGE in 2001 with the support of the Open Society Foundation to end gender-based violence and promote gender, race and class equality.Girls for Gender Equity is committed to the physical, psychological, social and economic development of girls and women. Through education, organizing and physical fitness, Girls for Gender Equity encourages communities to remove barriers and create opportunities for girls and women to live self-determined lives.

Joanne completed post-graduate training at Ackerman Institute for the Family, providing therapy to families, supporting the family/school collaborative and linking families to community resources. Joanne is an alumna of Hunter Graduate School of Social Work and Columbia Institute for Nonprofit Management. She has co-authored her first book published by Feminist Press, Hey Shorty: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Public Schools and on the Streets, 2011. Girls for Gender Equity's work to combat sexual harassment in schools is featured in the 2014 documentary about Anita: Speak Truth to Power. Smith is featured in the trailer: View Trailer Here

A staunch human rights advocate Smith has been honored by a number of prestigious organizations, including the Choice USA, Stonewall Democratic Club, and the Union Square Award in recognition of her leadership and dedication to reproductive, LGBTQ, and civil rights. She is part of the first Move to End Violence cohort—a 10-year initiative designed by NoVo Foundation to strengthen the collective capacity to end violence against girls and women in the United States. Smith is a Young Leader of the French-American Foundation. The program takes up-and-coming leaders in government, business, media, military, culture and the non-profit sector to discuss transatlantic policies, globalization and intersectional issues affecting France and America. Joanne resides in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

Selected Speaking Experience

  • Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence National Conference.
  • International Coalition Against Sexual Harassment ICASH.
  • Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence THRIVE Conference.
  • Move to End Violence Conference.
  • Sex, Power and Speaking Truth: Anita Hill 20 Years Later.