Insights from the Center

As the research and development arm of Agnes Irwin, the Center for the Advancement of Girls authors articles, white papers, and hosts events with leading advocates for advancing girls.

Read on to learn about our work to:

  • Raise female participation rates in STEM fields
  • Develop leadership in young girls
  • Improve student well-being 

Advancing Girls in STEM 

To encourage the persistence of females in STEM fields, we need to create an ecosystem that supports them from PreKindergarten through college, and ultimately, to the boardroom.

That's why we started hosting interactive, STEM-focused conferences — bringing together educators, nonprofits, higher education, and corporate leaders — to work together to create a new STEM ecosystem. Over the past four years, our keynote speakers and participants explored teacher preparation and curriculum design; mentoring programs; institutionalized bias; design-thinking; and the power of partnerships between organizations and institutions to support the persistence of girls and women in STEM fields. Learn more by downloading our white papers.

Leadership Identity in Young Girls

Research shows that gender stereotypes form at an early age.

Our Living Leadership in the Lower School program: developed by Agnes Irwin faculty, our Center for the Advancement of Girls, and Bryn Mawr College researchers, inoculates a long-standing gender stereotype regarding female leadership. The program is central to our Lower School curriculum and helps young girls learn to see themselves as leaders, right from the start. As part of the program, our Leadership Toolkit© —a physical toolbox that includes nine key attributes of a 21st-century leader — makes abstract leadership concepts more tangible for young learners. Our program is so successful, it has been published widely. Read more in the links below:

School Start Times

A growing body of research from the CDC and American Academy Pediatrics supports later start times in middle and high school. 

Late Start Pilot at AIS

Due to research findings on the benefits of later school start times, as well as student advocacy, the Center for the Advancement of Girls piloted a late start initiative at Agnes Irwin with middle and upper school students in spring 2018. After conducting pre- and post-surveys with students, faculty, and parents, Agnes Irwin determined it would move forward with a later start to school one day per week for upper school students in 2018-19. Ultimately, the school moved to a later start time across the board for Upper School in 2019-20. You can download our research brief to learn more.

Late Start Research Brief

 The CDC research found, for example, that students who start school just 30 minutes later, at 8:30 a.m. instead of 8 a.m., saw significant improvements in academic performance, school attendance, and mental and physical health outcomes [...] Evidence is mounting to suggest that even small delays in start times can make a difference for student learning and wellbeing. 


Stay Connected with the Center for the Advancement of Girls

Our team continues to publish works, forge partnerships, and develop original programming to support the advancement of girls. Let's stay connected.

Research Initiatives 

Explore some of the research we've been employing and participating in on our Research Initiatives page. 



Follow the team with the Center for the Advancement of Girls on Twitter, @CAG_Director.


Partnerships and Programs

Visit our Partnerships and Programs page to learn about how we extend opportunities for girls to learn, to lead, and to live a legacy.