iOS app Android app

Rachel Simmons
Rachel Simmons is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, and The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence. As an educator, Rachel works internationally to reduce bullying and empower girls and young women.

Rachel is a Vassar graduate and Rhodes Scholar from New York. The co-founder of the Girls Leadership Institute, she is an experienced curriculum writer and educator who works with schools and organizations around the world. She currently develops leadership programs for undergraduate women at the Wurtele Center for Work and Life at Smith College. She has previously worked as a classroom teacher in Massachusetts and South Africa.

Rachel was the host of the recent PBS television special, “A Girl’s Life,” and is a contributing writer for TeenVogue.

Rachel has appeared on Oprah and the Today show, and appears regularly in the national media. Odd Girl Out was adapted into a highly acclaimed Lifetime television movie. Rachel lives in western Massachusetts with her daughter and West Highland Terrier, Rosie, who is currently taking private workshops with Rachel to learn how to stop bullying other dogs.

Entries by Rachel Simmons

How Would You Parent If You Weren't Afraid?

(0) Comments | Posted September 22, 2014 | 12:43 PM

A middle school girl approached a classmate in the cafeteria. Their friendship was as old as the school year: two days. Could they sit together at lunch? she asked.

"Sorry, I have plans," the other girl replied, and bounced away.

In the car on the way home, the rebuffed...

Read Post

#Sorrynotsorry: The New Girl Power?

(1) Comments | Posted July 14, 2014 | 2:11 PM

I was teaching a workshop on self-promotion to a few dozen students at an all-women's college. I asked the women to reflect on their strengths, then write down a self-promotional remark.

"How would you describe yourself to an employer?" I asked.

A young woman raised her hand and took...

Read Post

The 10 Commandments of Instagram: How to Be a Good Human When Sharing Photos

(0) Comments | Posted January 29, 2014 | 10:02 PM

Instagram rocks. I love it, and so do the youth I work with and study. The latest Pew survey says 18 percent of teens use the photo sharing service, which has about 150 million users. As I travel around the country speaking about social media and bullying, I...

Read Post

The Red Pen in Your Head: Why You Should Start Speaking Up in Class

(0) Comments | Posted October 9, 2013 | 2:05 PM

You're sitting in class. You did the reading, so you're actually prepared. The professor starts with a question. In an instant, two or three hands -- usually the same ones every time - shoot up. You:

(a) know the answer. And you could say it, but... what if your voice...

Read Post

Is the Answer No? Ask For It Anyway

(31) Comments | Posted June 21, 2013 | 1:03 PM

One of the most important skills we learn as girls is the ability to ask without knowing the outcome: to apply for an opportunity we might not get, to raise our hand even if we don't know the right answer, to ask for what we want even if the answer...

Read Post

The Confidence Gap on Campus: Why College Women Need to Lean In

(8) Comments | Posted March 12, 2013 | 6:30 PM

Lean In, the new book by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, urges women to own their ambition as a pathway to leadership -- and has inspired a vigorous backlash. Sandberg argues that women sabotage their potential by holding themselves back; her critics say she blames women for the sins of society....

Read Post

Confident Parenting: Learning to Have Faith

(1) Comments | Posted January 16, 2013 | 3:30 PM

I had a baby, my first, earlier this year. After over a decade of telling parents how to raise their girls, I'm now tasked with raising my own. I have no doubt I'll take back some of what I said from a childless perch -- and hopefully feel gratified about...

Read Post

How to Repair the Gender Pay Gap? Teach Negotiation Skills in College

(63) Comments | Posted November 8, 2012 | 1:03 PM

Last Wednesday, the American Association of University Women reported that women in their first year out of college are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to their male peers -- creating a heavier college debt burden and lifelong wage gap at a time when women are...

Read Post

The New Odd Girl Out: 5 Ways To Talk With Your Daughter About Technology

(2) Comments | Posted August 10, 2011 | 10:02 PM

As part of my series celebrating the newly revised and updated Odd Girl Out, I'm leading parents and girls through some of the twists and turns of girls' social lives online.

With stories of cyberbullying everywhere, parents' anxiety increases with every headline. But parenting can't only be about...

Read Post

The New Odd Girl Out: Why Social Media Makes Girls So Insecure

(18) Comments | Posted August 8, 2011 | 12:45 PM

How is it that something girls love so much can also create so much anxiety, paranoia and aggression? I'm talking, of course, about social media. This week, as I continue my tour of BFF 2.0 -- girls' social world online -- I'm talking about the paradox of social media.


Read Post

Why a Parent's Empathy Is Vital for a Bullied Girl -- and Why It Often Goes Out the Window

(53) Comments | Posted July 13, 2011 | 10:18 PM

When I did the original research for Odd Girl Out, I asked every bullied girl I interviewed to tell me what she needed most from her family. The answer truly surprised me. It wasn't having the best solutions, calling the school or trying to act like everything was okay.


Read Post

Responding to the Bullycides: How We Can Stand Up & Honor Their Memories

(10) Comments | Posted October 5, 2010 | 2:10 PM

It's been said that once you have a child, you look at the suffering of other families in a different way. You know what it means to love someone with your entire being, in a way that you never could have imagined before bringing your child into your life. In...

Read Post

No Offense, But I Was Just Kidding: Dealing With Mean Jokes

(1) Comments | Posted August 17, 2010 | 12:51 AM

"When girls say 'just kidding,' what percentage of the time are they really joking?" It's one of my favorite questions to ask girls, and I rarely hear numbers in double digits.

That's because "just kidding," and its cousin, "no offense," are phrases girls (and guys, though less frequently) use to...

Read Post

Why Talking Too Much About Kagan's Sexuality Fuels Gender Policing

(4) Comments | Posted May 28, 2010 | 8:52 PM

Over the weekend, Washington Post fashion reporter Robin Givhan chided Elena Kagan for sitting with her legs open, and Salon Broadsheet blogger Tracy Clark Flory responded with a blog accusing Givhan of subtle homophobia. "It feels like Kagan is, however indirectly, being indicted over her sexuality...

Read Post

Searching for Female Rappers: A Guided Discussion for Girls on Women & Hip-Hop

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2010 | 11:55 PM

Last week, the public radio show Soundcheck headlined with a story called "Searching for Female Rappers." Host John Schafer interviewed Quentin B. Huff, who wrote an article about the dearth of female MC's (femcees) in the aughts. Huff concludes that "hip hop needs a women's movement."

Read Post

"Talk to Strangers:" Is the New Chat Craze Dangerous for Girls?

(3) Comments | Posted April 28, 2010 | 12:20 AM

"Talk to strangers:" That's the tag line for Omegle, a website where girls can text chat with random people they've never met. Omegle and Chatroulette, which allows users to video chat with strangers, have become explosively popular with teen girls, and I've asked some girls I...

Read Post

My First Rant: Why Can't Women Keep Up with Men? Try the Curse of the Good Girl

(8) Comments | Posted April 27, 2010 | 11:47 PM

Women, and our struggle for workplace equality, seem to be having a moment. Seems like everywhere you look lately, there's a story about how we don't seek or win enough money for tech start-ups; how we still face sexism in the workplace; how there are not...

Read Post

What Every Parent Should Know About Formspring: The New Cyberscourge for Teens

(25) Comments | Posted April 10, 2010 | 7:14 PM

Last week, a Long Island high school senior committed suicide, and the website is suspected as a cause. Yet most parents don't even know it exists. Formspring is the latest cyberscourge for teens. It lets you open an account and allows your anonymous audience - usually your...

Read Post

Is Hooking Up Good for Girls?

(11) Comments | Posted February 25, 2010 | 9:58 AM

As a relationship advice columnist for Teen Vogue, I get a lot of mail from girls in "no strings attached" relationships. The girls describe themselves as "kind of" with a guy, "sort of" seeing him, or "hanging out" with him. The guy may be noncommittal, or...

Read Post

"I'm So Sorry for the Delay in My Reply:" Do You Have the Curse of the E-Good Girl?

(1) Comments | Posted February 17, 2010 | 9:19 PM

FROM: Rachel Simmons
TO: Friends, Family, Colleagues, Readers, Old Students, Current Students, Parents, Teachers, Random People I Went to High School With & Spammers
DATE: February 18, 2010
RE: The Curse of the E-Good Girl

I'm so sorry for taking this long to write you...

Read Post