Stop telling your daughters that they can grow up to be anything they want to be. It simply isn't true and I'll tell you why. Hillary Clinton won the South Carolina primary recently. I stood behind two woman in line at the grocery store who were discussing this event. One had her baby daughter sitting in the shopping cart when one of the two women said, "I just don't see a woman as U.S. president." Aha! Now there's the problem. Honestly it doesn't bother me if you aren't a fan of Mrs. Clinton as a politician but what I do care about is whether or not you can even begin to envision a woman as the president of the United States because if you can't then you need to stop telling your daughters they can grow up to be whatever they want to be. I have friends whose relatives only go to male doctors because they feel men are more competent. In this Washington Post article, male students assumed that their male peers were smarter than the females in their class even when the women earned better grades https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/02/16/the-remarkably-different-answers-men-and-women-give-when-asked-whos-the-smartest-in-the-class/ . What?!
Countries around the world, including less developed nations, have female presidents and prime ministers LEADING nations with the full support of their citizens. How can we expect our girls to become more when they are not given role models to emulate? Our girls cannot begin to imagine themselves as scientists, mathematicians, CEOs, a president, etc. because they don't have enough (or any) women modeling for them what it means to be a female and a scientist/mathematician/CEO/president. Parents, are you upset by the current maternity leave policies in the U.S.? Are you upset with the cost of quality child care? Are you upset that you can't attend daytime events at your child's school without fear of losing your job? The only people who can truly change policies and make the U.S. workforce kinder to women and to families are women in positions to make a change. The only way we are going to get there is if we elect them. The only way we are going to get there is if we mentor them. The only way we are going to get there is if we support them.
As families raising young girls, WE need to take inventory of our feelings and actions to see how we contribute to the culture of treating women as second class citizens. Are we taking a back seat at home allowing others to make the decisions for the entire household? Are we giving our younger female coworkers the support and advice they need to break the glass ceiling? Are we being kind to one another as women, as mothers, as sisters, as friends? Are we just as likely to give our daughters a microscope or sign her up for space camp as we are handing her a Barbie doll and a tutu. Yes, we want to raise kind compassionate young women but I don't think motivating them to be more than they dreamed possible is mutually exclusive of being empathetic beings. It in no way diminishes their femininity. We need female leaders who can promote change in all areas of society so that our children, boys and girls alike, know that they both have the same opportunities at any job and that when they get that job, they will receive the same pay for their efforts. So please readers, don't tell your daughters that they can grow up to be anything unless you're ready to help do the work required to open up the world of possibilities for your little girls. ~HZM
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!