Girls Lead was created in 2012 after the closure of the Harriet Tubman Leadership Academy for Young Women in Portland, Oregon. The Harriet Tubman Leadership Academy was founded in 2007 and was the only all-girls public school in the state of Oregon. It started as a 6th-9th grade program and grew into full fledged 6th-12th grade program in 2011 hoping  to foster an interest in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) fields  – areas where women have been traditionally underrepresented. On April 23rd, 2012, Portland Public School Board voted to close down Harriet Tubman.

Following the closure of Harriet Tubman, parents and community members came together to form a Girls Lead club  to provide a space for girls to pursue their interest in math, science and leadership.  With the help of volunteer teachers, Girls lead club is coaching  girls from 5-6 different schools for a national math competition called MathCounts.  It is also teaching them public speaking and video production skills.  Currently the girls are meeting two Saturdays a month at Harriet Tubman from 2-5 pm. High school girls are also training for a Technology Challenge with support from engineers from Intel and Portland State University.