About Us

Who we are

A Maine-based, research-driven nonprofit, Hardy Girls Healthy Women empowers girls with knowledge, critical thinking skills and a platform to drive social change since 2000. We’re about changing the culture, not fixing the girl. HGHW works with 1,200+ girls annually through year-round, statewide programs.

Our Mission 

Hardy Girls takes girls seriously and puts the power in their hands to challenge a society that ignores their brilliance. We dare adult allies to join us in standing with girls.

Our Vision 

Girls cause a ruckus.

What is hardiness?

A hardiness zone, determined by the USDA, is the standard by which gardeners determine which plants are most likely to thrive in a location. Like the back of a packet of seeds, it tells you how much light, water and spacing a plant needs. If you ignore these instructions and put the seeds in any dirt, in a dark corner with no water and forgot about it, it could be the difference between

this:        and this:    

Big difference, right? But you wouldn’t blame the seed for its inability to grow. Yet, that’s what our society does to girls every day: plants them in misogynistic soil, pits them against each other, demands they look a certain way, encourages them to shove down their roots, and stand pretty. And when a girl doesn’t bloom, we ask what’s wrong with her?

At Hardy Girls Healthy Women, we believe it’s the soil (the environment) that’s in need of attention. Girls aren’t the problem, they are part of the solution

Hardy Girls Healthy Women creates hardiness zones for girls that includes giving her:

An opportunity to think critically about the world around her. Without this, it’s easy to think the individuals are at fault instead of looking at the whole system which ignores girls’ brilliance.

Control over her environment

Commitment from a community and asking her to commit in return

A challenge to create change.


Since day one, Hardy Girls programming, resources and services have been powered by the latest research in girls’ development. Much of that research comes from the work of Hardy Girls co-creator, Lyn Mikel Brown. Read Dr. Brown’s keynote address Cultivating Hardiness Zones for Adolescent Girls and about the further research that was used as the guiding principles to help found this organization.