Girls can be so much more than just mothers. We can be world leaders, mentors, great educators, doctors, scientists, entrepreneurs, law makers, ambassadors for charitable causes and everything in between. We have been voice of change in many industries.
So, why, in a world filled with choices, do we still hold up motherhood as the best possible scenario for women?
It’s time to change the way we raise young girls, so they know that, while motherhood is an option for them, it’s not the only one.
We can start telling them new stories. Rather than watching Disney movies like Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, it’s time to watch films like Brave, Moana and Zootopia, all of which have kickass female leads who don’t need a man to save them.
Or how about the modern fairy tale Shrek, where the sassy Princess
Fiona is allowed to be her authentic self as she transforms into the less physically attractive (but equally amazing, sassy and confident) Fiona. From the way she is rescued to speaking her mind and even kicking butt in a few scenes, it goes against the common narrative of waiting for a man to rescue you in order to live happily ever after. I love the message that gives to young girls, letting them know it is okay to be authentically you and not rely on a man.
It’s time to let girls learn and experiment by playing with a range of different toys that stretch all of their skills – intellectual, spatial, physical and social. Just because a child is female doesn’t mean she should be restricted to the pink aisle – yes, let her have her dolls, but let her play with Lego and Meccano sets, with cars and trucks, with paints and pencils and balls and hoops.
When researching this topic, it was interesting and encouraging to see many women banning stereotypical toys like Barbie dolls and encouraging their daughters to think, create and explore. The more girls think out of the box and learn different skills when they are young, the more versatile, independent and adventurous they’ll be as women.
It’s time to encourage girls to pursue a range of interests, both within and outside the classroom. Just because a subject might have been seen as traditionally masculine, there is no reason why a girl can’t tackle it. Just look at the women in Hidden Figures – a girl who loves maths or science or IT or engineering might be the one to save the day.