It’s International Day of the Girl Child!
The United Nations founded the Oct. 11 holiday in 2011. Why?
“To help galvanize enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.”
All of us can move past differences and join forces to better the lives of every girl, and thus every boy, too.
Because when girls’ lives improve, all lives improve.
So here are five things you can do today in honor of #DayoftheGirl.
1. Check in: Ask her about her dreams
Girls have crazy, wild, record-breaking ambitions. But goals are like gardens: without water, nutrients and care, they die. And it’s not a one-and-done thing. Your girls need your continuous support and uninhibited faith in their ability to conquer.
Make sure they feel heard. Ask what you can do to help them thrive. If their confidence is wavering, help build it up. If they say they don’t have a dream, help them figure it out.
2. Ask your kids if they actively promote girls’ well-being
It’s really easy to get competitive. That doesn’t mean we’re bad people, but it’s important to teach kids that life isn’t a zero-sum game. There’s no cap to the number of successful women that can exist.
So, ask your daughter or son:
- Are you rooting for your girl friends?
- Are you doing what you can to build their confidence?
- Are you shutting down mean and hurtful gossip? Are you perpetrating it? Are you complicit?
Then ask yourself: Are you leading by example?
3. Encourage her to try something she’s never considered
Whether it’s a new food, sport, hobby, book or class, it’s good for us to step outside our comfort zones. Encourage your children (if they’re mature enough) to read about the conditions of other girls in other nations:
- “They never told her that girls could be scientists.”
- Read about child brides globally.
- “South African girl with disability abused on school bus.”
Then, ask your daughter if she ever feels like there are certain unspoken rules she has to adhere to. Moms aren’t mind readers! You may not be forcing antiquated ways of thinking onto her, but she may be picking up stereotypes that you don’t agree with. Help clarify any misconceptions she may have.
If she’s comfortable with it, let your sons join the conversation, so they can know what’s affecting their sister(s).
4. Help her find a role model
“A girl needs to see confidence, leadership and accomplishment in other women in order to envision herself with those qualities.”
So head to the library. Do a Google search. Find a Netflix documentary. There are probably more female role models than you think!
5. Have the gender-equality chat
The United Nations has a PDF full of ways to start the conversation.
Perhaps your daughter will confess she was told she couldn’t play a “boy sport.” Or maybe your son was made fun of for “crying like a girl.” Let them know how silly those “rules” are! Let them know they’re allowed to break them.
It may not be an easy conversation, but it’s an important one. Then go get ice cream.