“Well-behaved women seldom make history.” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
I am the mother of a 3 year-old girl. Each day I think of ways to help her develop into an intelligent, independent, unapologetic, brave, creative, compassionate, and resilient human being. I realize that one of the hardest plights in life is being born a girl, which means she will spend a lifetime standing up for herself and fighting. She will have to fight for her voice to be heard, fight for the people and causes she deeply cares about, fight against stereotypes, fight against inequality, and fight her own self doubt. So how do I prepare her and the young girls I teach for a lifelong journey of fighting, because it is unfair to just inspire passion, ideas, and skills to transform the world and not address the hardships females face. Below are a few ideas on how I believe we teach young women to be successful, innovative, and transform the world. I am also including a video about a keynote I gave last year for International Women’s Day with ideas on how women can help each other be successful and have their voices heard.
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- Champion their ideas
- Get them to compete as much as possible and champion their efforts versus victories
- Encourage them to journal
- Help them find outlets (sports, art, singing, dancing, etc.) that expand their minds and help them find release when the journey gets hard
- Be real about the journey
- Set high expectations and let them know it’s because you believe in them
- When they fall help them learn to pick themselves up
- Celebrate their victories, but celebrate the struggles and failures more
- Get them to understand the importance of failure and help them to welcome it
- Mentor them
- Introduce them to inspiring role models (ex. Ruby Bridges, Maya Angelou, Ellen Ochoa, Simone Biles, etc.)
- Provide them with resources for hero stories (books, podcasts, films, poetry, songs, etc.)
- Fight for them to keep going and don’t make it easy for them to give up
I know these ideas need more explanation and resources, which I hope to explain in more detail in future posts, a talk, or book.
Feel free to share your ideas and resources in the comments!