The world is heating up with marches and protests to fight against gender inequality and stereotypes. We all have seen writers, actors, politicians, singers, and artists share their opinions and stories to raise awareness and make women believe that they are nothing less than men. Like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says, “We should all be feminist.”
But a recent study published in the Science says that young girls don’t think that they are as smart as other boys after a certain point. Before the age of 6, boys and girls are equally associated in terms of intelligence. In later life, there are differences in perceptions which are likely to be consequential. Researchers say that women are underrepresented in our society in various fields. This stretches back all the way from childhood.
Parents play an important role in teaching their daughters what how to grow up to be a stronger woman. How to never consider themselves lower than boys, set high goals in life, and believe that they can achieve those goals in life. Here are some things which are stopping your daughter from
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1.You Teach Her To Be Quiet And Polite
There is a thin line between being a polite person and being a use-and-thrash kind of person. Girls are always bordered to the latter one. Girls are not supposed to grow up as pleasers or desirable. A successful woman doesn’t try to please people wherever she goes, and speaks up what she has in her mind.
What Could Go Wrong: In future, this could change her mindset. Your daughter will never negotiate for higher salaries since she doesn’t want to offend a potential employer, she will never speak in class, and eventually will be seen as an unintelligent woman.
How Can You Avoid This: Teach your daughter that she can debate, she has a freedom of speech too. A child who argues is not a well-mannered kid, but there is nothing wrong in disagreeing and negotiating respectfully, especially with her
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2. You Buy Her Gender-Specific Toys
You deck her room with things which are pink in color in the first three years of her life. She will like the color because “that’s what girls like”. Researchers believe that parents and other social factors lead girls to pick gender-specific toys. It’s not an innate genetic predisposition.
What Could Go Wrong: An important study conducted in 2009 found that 31% of toys made for girls are all about appearance which involves plastic makeup and dresses. While the toys targeted to boys encourage them to invent, explore, and compete, and develop their problem solving skills. These skills are highly desirable for employees and leaders.
How Can You Avoid This: Try avoid taking her to Barbie and doll section exclusively. Provide her with toys which encourage scientific discovery, competition, exploration, and problem solving.
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3. You Tell Her That She’s Pretty
(Her Pretty Appearance Becomes Her Identity) Yes, she looks adorable with pony tails and ribbons on her hair, but do you compliment her for her painting or poetry writing skills? Do you encourage her to play an instrument or listen to classic music?
What Could Go Wrong: She will become very appearance conscious when she grows up. You might have a hard time trying to convince her that there are other important things which are considered above beauty and good looks. She will believe that being a good looking woman is everything in this world.
How Can You Avoid This: Give your daughter compliments based on the skills that she has learned and her achievements in school. Your compliments shouldn’t always be about appearance.
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4. You Instill The Princess Cult
Real-life princesses are actually quite accomplished. They have diplomacy skills, know multiple languages, and study in esteemed universities. But your little girl has no idea about all these. Don’t make her dream about happily ever after scenarios, and that she needs a prince to save “her life”. We need to make them grow up into warrior princess instead of a damsel in distress.
What Could Go Wrong: Your daughter will get attached to men more than she needs to. She will depend on a man to save her out of troubles, and expect him to go out of his way to please her. Or she will go out of her way to impress him.
How You Can Avoid This: Show her the strengths of each Disney princesses, like Rapunzel in “Tangled” didn’t care that her pretty blonde hair was cut in the end, or how Belle loves reading. Make her believe that she is enough for herself, and she doesn’t need to depend on a man which she is capable of doing better.
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5. You Give All The Physical Tasks In The House To The Dad
It’s easy for a man to open a jar of pickle in the house, but can a woman not do the same? By giving all the physical tasks to the Dad in the house, you give an idea away to your daughter about gender-specific tasks. Men are not necessarily the ‘doers’, ‘providers’, ‘caretakers’, or ‘head of the family’.
What Can Go Wrong: Your daughter will grow up with a notion that she cannot take care of the things which her father can, or men do. You demonstrate that a woman always needs to depend on a man in her life.
How Can You Avoid It: Show your daughter how to take care of important financial tasks, which every mom should do in the house. You can let her cut the lawn grass and open pickle jars too. Avoid handing out chores according to
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6. You Let Her Spend Time Only With Girls
A recent study shows that single-sex schools are good in terms of academics engagement, but they raise children who are more likely to believe in gender stereotypes.
What Can Go Wrong: What’s the point of having a smart daughter in the house who can’t take major decisions in her life by her own, who can’t be confident around her male colleagues, or can’t talk to a man in the bus stop?
How Can You Avoid This: Try encouraging her to have friends among boys outside her school. Ask them to hang out with neighbor’s son, and in case of young children, arrange play-dates with boys as well. Invite boys to your daughter’s birthday parties. Always be interested to know about her friends and give your thoughts about them. Encourage them for co-ed sports.