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Gender and Happiness

Updated: Feb 16

Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA (CDC) recently released a report stating that teen girls are experiencing much higher levels of distress and violence than boys. Based on the current data collected via CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 3 in 5 girls felt persistently sad and hopeless, which increased by about 60% since 2011. 1 in 5 girls reported that they were bullied over social media, double the number reported by boys. Why is that and what can we do about it?

While CDC published many recommendations for schools to improve youth health and well-being, we want to hear directly from teens to see what they need, and we want to challenge them to create such a self-help tool.

The Happy Teens Website Design Challenge is now entering the "build phase." After learning the Science of Well-being from our kick-off speaker, Mr. Gomes, fifteen teams representing 26 countries are now in touch with their team coaches (Georgetown University, NYU, University of Ottawa, Wilfrid Laurier University) and tech mentors (CSUMB) to start putting some ideas together to build their websites for the forum competition.

  • Some thought that teens need help to find the words and support to feel safe to express their worries and pains.

  • Some thought that parents need to learn when to get involved and when to pull back.

  • Some thought that it would be best to direct teens' curiosity to something they love.

One team conducted surveys on campus and shared that unintended pregnancy under social pressure is a big problem. This revelation leads to our next forum topic: Women and the Economy - The Best ROI of Humankind. Unintended pregnancies in teen moms are one of the root causes of women stuck in poverty and broken homes. The negative impact goes beyond the suffering of teens, both boys and girls, during their formative years. The vicious circle of unfulfilled potentials is well documented in the thoughtful work Half the Sky, by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

Everyone deserves to lead a productive and happy life. Join us to investigate how gender roles impact our society and explore ideas to improve our joint future.

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