Raising Mighty Girls
Despite struggles, women have come so far in recent generations ...and yet not progressed at all in many ways.
Even as am a mum of boys, I'm aware of constant sexism aimed at our young and sponge-like impressionably children. Two recent examples being 1) Coming across a Nurses medical kit in a pink case and a blue cased Doctors kit in a large UK toy store chain in a Dubai mall the other month. And B) A certain prolific regional airline has been sending media mums airline uniform hats for their kids - pilots for the boys and crew for the girls. Are you kidding me?!
Raising either gender has specific responsibilities, but I think there's possibly extra burden on parents of daughters. The female of the species needs to be twice as good, twice as strong, twice as ambitious as male counterparts for a chance to be considered on a level playing field - whilst appearing twice as humble, nice, oh and attractive for sure. Tragically daunting.
These are things the motherhood knows instinctively and subconsciously. But it can be worthwhile for mums, especially those raising the next generation of women, to raise their conscious on the institutionalised challenges and barriers holding women back. And, how we are holding young girls back ourselves.
Much of what holds women back is internal and a lot of it passed on from other women, like our mothers. How girls grow to feel they fit in to society, what they're good at or not good at, what they should be... These are ingrained in us from toddlerhood and so we need to be really careful what we teach our daughters about their options, ambitions and priorities.
To that end I wanted to share a few great links - inspirational photos, essays, a fun online resource for mothers raising smart and confident girls and even a commercial!
www.amightygirl.com is "the world’s largest collection of books, toys, movies, and music for parents, teachers, and others dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls and, of course, for girls themselves." It's full of great toys - DOCTORS kits included.
Because girls can like dinosaurs, soccer and science. They can aspire to superpowers and they need books with credible female heroes and a history of womens' achievements that have changed the world.
I posted How to Talk to Girls on Facebook last week. I am often guilty of talking to a girl about how pretty they are or how lovely their dress is... appearance, appearance, appearance. But after reading this great blog post, I will be sure to ask them what they like to read, play, how's school. etc. before telling them how pretty they are.
Forbes has a great, simple 8 Essential Steps to Raising Confident Girls article, which include gems such as 'Minimize the Princess'and the importance of helping her to love her looks and never put down your own appearance in front of her.
The headline image on this post is from a fabulous photo series by Kate Parker. The series celebrates who her daughters are; the sports, their play, their joy. She wanted to capture how beautiful they were, as they are, no dressed-up, pretty portraits. They are beautiful photos of some clearly confident, happy and courageous girls.
Finally, here is the Like a Girl commercial I shared on Facebook last year. It's real food for thought!
It needs to be said that mums of boys also need to be raising equal opportunity advocates who 'Lean in' and Dads have a huge role in raising mighty women and equality empowering men.
Also on tuesdayschild, read Lean In and Four Women Who Tell it How it is