TODAY IS FOR THE GIRLS…
People that know me personally are aware that African American boys are a passion of mine. I speak out loudly and often to teachers and parents regarding the reading data of our boys and offer assistance to help.
Today, I’m screaming, “Our girls are just as important!” We are molding tomorrow’s leaders. I raised my own daughter to be a strong woman confident in her abilities. I never wanted her to think for one minute that she couldn’t “do” or “be” anything she wanted simply because she was a girl. And as an adult she is showing me she learned the lessons well!
Our words can have a huge impact.
I was on a business trip to Atlanta last week. On the shuttle bus from the airport to my hotel I struck up a conversation with a fellow passenger. We laughed at the amount of “hurry up and wait” time required when travelling. She agreed and said as a former pilot she was used to it. I told her how lucky her 4 year-old daughter is to have a mother that is a former pilot – she will surely grow up knowing she can be anything she wants to be. She laughed and said, “Oh yes… it will be quite different for my daughter than when I was growing up. I was raised on a farm in Minnesota and I remember telling my Dad at 18 that I wanted to go to college and he said to me what for…it’s a waste of time and money, especially FOR A GIRL!”
Her reply was a reminder that although we’ve made some gains, we really have to be diligent. The words we utter matter. I’m glad girl power has become a significant focus of corporate marketing lately. (Corporate America is finally catching on that we women are the decision makers for all those products). Have you had a chance to view any of those amazing commercials on you-tube (by Verizon, Always, Cover Girl, etc.)? My favorite is the Verizon Inspire Her Mind commercial that highlights girls, science and the way we discourage our girls by the words we use. I know most of us believe our girls are more than just a pretty face, but I wonder do we remember to tell them we value their minds as well?
Encourage her love of science, math and technology.
Inspire her to change the world.
Girls do like STEM! In one research study a total of 74% of teen girls were interested in STEM. The STEM girls were compared to the non-STEM girls and they found that STEM girls:
- like to understand how things work
- like puzzles and solving problems
- like doing hands-on science projects
- like asking questions about how things work and finding ways to answer them
DNA of a STEM Girl
I found the make-up of a STEM girl in the study to be interesting. Ask yourself, “Does this sound like my daughter?”
Girls interested in STEM
- are better students
- believe they are smart enough to have a STEM career
- have high academic goals for themselves (they expect to go to college and on to graduate school)
- consider themselves hard workers
- are inclined to grapple with adversity and overcome obstacles
- believe whatever boys can do, girls can do (smile)
I’m sure you agree with me that we can’t wait until our girls are in middle school or high school to begin thinking about their futures. It starts with childhood.
- Introduce girls to STEM at an early age through toys and media that make it fun. That’s a lot easier to do today.
- Read those wonderful books that showcase empowering attributes. One of my favorites is The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires).
- Take those trips to science museums and allow your daughter to participate in the hands-on activities.
- Pay attention to your daughter’s interests and be encouraging (I didn’t know anything about space, but I found a way to get my daughter in a program at John Hopkins Space Telescope Institute!)
It’s time to change our thinking – Girls Can! Girls Rule! Girl Power!...choose whatever slogan you like that motivates you to empower your little girl.
This post is dedicated to Dasani, who always marches to her own drumbeat. “Nana Judi” expects great things from you!
See you next Wednesday!