Today's blog is dedicated to International Women's Day and answering the question: How can we, as a culture and as members of the global community, involve, educate, and inspire girls in a positive way?
Gender Equality Involves Both Genders
Too often the discussion of gender equality is a picture of women advocating for women's rights, but for every woman born there are two contributors to her DNA - a man and a woman. It is the lack of presence or even the absence of men in the discussion for women's rights that sends a negative message to girls. This is not an issue for women, it is an issue about women that both genders have equal responsibility to. A girl should have the chance to see her father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, male friend, boyfriend, and male stranger stand vocal in her value. Any discussion about equality is essentially a discussion about value and not participating means that you are leaving the value of your mother, grandmother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, female friend, girlfriend, and female stranger to someone else.
Early Leadership Opportunities are Critical
Regardless of whether you believe that leaders are born or made, all leaders need opportunities to lead. Leadership opportunities begin in the family as it is the safest place to learn how to lead the most resistant of people - relatives. Fostering this type of development means that parents find opportunities for girls to lead within the family by making decisions and being held accountable for recognizing the needs of the rest of family. The term "parents or relatives" is loosely defined as those who care and are responsible for girls as genetics place an unnecessary definitional limit. Girls should be allowed to fail because it acts as a change agent and learning catalyst. And progression is also important as girls should encounter stretch opportunities. It is succession planning for the family, which ensures the family progresses alongside the girl as she becomes a woman.
On a personal note, I hope that someday an "International Women's Day" will be unnecessary and regarded as a Hallmark holiday. My faith lays in the overwhelming optimism that global citizens will recognize that a "rising tide lifts all ships" and by keeping one group subordinate, it effectively holds everyone back as we are inextricably linked in a world that is getting smaller and smaller each day. America is not the leader it should be on this issue and as a citizen that means I am not doing enough so I guess the faith that I need is in myself to exact the change I want to see. Blogging cannot be my only contribution.