Woohoo! It’s Women’s History Month which is awesome! It shines a light on the accomplishments of some amazing women from all walks of life who might otherwise simply be a footnote in history.
With that said, are we teaching our girls to shine or shrink?
I’m frustrated by the double standard that women still endure. Our lives are far more complicated and difficult than that of our male counterparts.
Why is it that we had to fight for an amendment simply to cast a ballot? That was the 19th Amendment to the Constitution passed in March, 1919.
One hundred years later, we’re still fighting to be taken seriously in the board room, still fighting to be paid equal to a man and we bear the brunt of marriage and children (yes, actually we do) called the second and third shift. Work life balance
We still live in a patriarchal society where strong passionate women are considered bossy and yet a strong passionate man is considered a leader.
Why is that?
Honestly, tell me something. What’s the difference between two strong passionate personalities – one being female and one being male – who accomplish great things for themselves and the world?
Except perception and gender.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, author and national speaker who says this about what we teach girls:
We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now, marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.
She really lays it out there, doesn’t she?
And it’s all true.
So, why is it okay to teach girls to aspire to marriage, but not boys? What’s the difference?
Why is it okay for boys to have unlimited ambition but not girls? What’s the difference?
Why do men get paid more than women for doing the same job? What’s the difference?
Why can men enjoy a drink at a bar but women are just “asking for it” if they do the same thing? What’s the difference?
It’s long past time that we began teaching our daughters in earnest that they never have to shrink or make themselves smaller to appease powerful men, get ahead or simply survive.
Let’s Celebrate Women’s History Month
In honor of Women’s History Month, The Skimm offers up 19 women who have made a difference in sports, business, entertainment and politics such as:
- Lucille Ball (w-a-a-a-y ahead of her time)
- Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF
- Bernice Sandler aka ”godmother of Title IX”
- Katharine Graham, the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 Company
Let’s make a pact right now to teach our girls that it’s okay to be ambitious – whatever that looks like to her; that it’s okay to be intelligent; that it’s okay to be successful beyond her wildest dreams.
Let’s also teach them that the same leadership qualities we hold dear in men are welcome and celebrated in women.
Let’s teach our girls that it’s okay if they don’t want to be married or have children and that it’s perfectly fine to excel in business, sports, politics, science, math and technology.
Please take a moment to tell me your thoughts on gender inequality. How has it affected you? Please leave your comments below – I’d love to hear from you.
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