Teaching Our Girls To Shatter Glass Ceilings

It was reported last week that by just 6 years old, girls think that boys are smarter. And then that’s how they grow up thinking. 6 years old! I thought we had until Little H was a teen before we had to worry about these things, but we’ve actually got less than 6 months.

What with articles like this and the need for Women’s Marches, it looks like us parents of girls have got a lot of work cut out for us. When you realise you’ve got a pink bundle you don’t think about any of this.

Not to believe in yourself just because you’re female sounds crazy but sadly, most of us know it’s true. We’re constantly making sure Little H knows how brilliant she is, and that she needs to work hard at school. But is it enough?

Teaching Our Girls To Shatter Glass Ceilings | www.digitalmotherhood.com

I was curious to see what Little H’s thoughts on boys vs girls were…

Question Time

Me: Who’s smarter boys or girls?

H: Girls!

Me: Why?

H: Because boys are annoying and silly.

Hmm, not sure I can argue with that one…

Me: Who has better jobs when they grow up boys or girls?

H: Both, they can do the same jobs.

Me: Who could be an engineer, a boy or a girl?

H: Both

Me: What about a scientist?

H: Both

Me: A teacher?

H: Both

Me: A Doctor?

H: Both

Me: What do you want to be?

H A teacher

So far so good. Is she really going to start losing confidence in herself in 6 months to a year’s time? It’s quite a sad thought if you believe what the experts say isn’t it, they’re still so young.

I don’t remember thinking that boys were smarter than girls, but then I went to an all girl’s grammar school so it was pretty much feminism all day long! There was never any question at home that boys were better than girls or vice versa, so maybe that’s part of it as well.

If Little H wants to wear pink and stay at home raising kids when she’s older then that’s fine by me, but we want to make sure she’s aware of every opportunity available to her and isn’t scared to do something because she’s “just a girl”.

How can we help inspire our daughters?

Now we’re not experts in this by any stretch of the imagination, we’re parents to one daughter just winging this whole parenting lark but we are trying.

They say that battling gender stereotypes starts at home and I think our household is pretty equal. We both work, we booth cook dinner and (for the most part!) we both do our share of the housework.

Little H is a very pink, princessy girl which I love, but we do try and make sure that it’s not just about the girly stuff.

STEM is always being talked about as lacking women pursuing careers in the field, and if you look at the toys and books associated with it, it’s still quite targeted towards boys so it’s not that surprising really.

Last weekend we went to a local science activity club, Little H was the only girl in a group of about 15 kids which I thought was quite surprising in itself but she didn’t even seem to notice. She really enjoyed it so we’re going to try and make this a monthly visit and I’ve also ordered a science experiments book for her.

We bought a Goldie Blox kit last year and she really enjoys trying to make the spinning machine. I’d definitely recommend these kits as it puts the fun into ‘engineering’. It’s also nice to trick them into playing with something educational!

Role models other than princesses or half-naked pop stars are a good idea too. I watched Hidden Figures this weekend and was inspired myself! I’m not sure which amazing women to teach Little H about but I’m certainly going to look into it. As a start, I hope that seeing her mum going to work every day inspires Little H to work hard herself as she grows up. A good Facebook page to follow for inspiration on this is A Mighty Girl, they’re always posting links to books and films to inspire girls of all ages.

Teaching Our Girls To Shatter Glass Ceilings | www.digitalmotherhood.com

The researchers in this study about girls losing faith in their own talents said that the girls were just as interested as boys in playing the games when they understood the importance of hard work in succeeding. Is it that easy?

We try to reward Little H when she’s worked really hard at school anyway, and we find that reward charts work. I’ve pinned a few reward chart ideas here if you need some inspiration.

I suppose we’ll have to see what her opinions are in a couple of year’s time but I definitely feel a lot of pressure to bring my daughter up to be confident and believe in herself. And I think there’s a lot of hard work involved.

If you have daughters do you feel the same? What tricks do you have up your sleeve? Or do you think it’s all worry for nothing? I would love to hear what you think!

Sarah

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29 thoughts on “Teaching Our Girls To Shatter Glass Ceilings

  1. justsayingmum says:

    Oh how wonderful to have had this conversation with your daughter – just brilliant! Love all of her answers and long may she continue to think this way and hope that society doesn’t change her! Oh and yes to the role models other than the half clad pop stars! You’re doing a grand job! #MarvMondays

  2. Coombe Mill says:

    It is so important to fuel their fire, inspire girls, fill them with confidence and let them flourish. I have nothing against indulging in pink and fluffy too, they can have it all! #MarvMondays

  3. Fran Back With A Bump says:

    This is great and I love her answers. All we can do is inspire and encourage our girls to be independent and luckily they’re growing up in a society where our voice can be heard much more…and yet we can still be girly and love pink too 😉 Thanks for sharing for #marvmondays

  4. Nicky Kentisbeer says:

    Lovely answers and an interesting subject. Of course, we all push at home that we can all be what we want to be but the craft of differences also becomes learned outside the home. I am heartened when I see equal encouragement being pushed at school, we have male and female netball teams, football teams, science teams and a good friend with a very successful ballet dancer as her son. We just have to keep reinforcing the message don’t we. #marvmondays

  5. Lucy At Home says:

    I have two daughters. The eldest (6) loves all thing pink and princess-y, but she also has a good mix of friends that are boys and girls. She definitely gender stereotypes, though – we had a whole debate last week about a man who was a nurse, but Jenny was adamant he must be a doctor because he’s a man. She has no problem with girls being doctors too (she has a female doctor herself), but the idea that a man could be a nurse was just impossible for her to comprehend! #MarvMondays

  6. Laura @ Dot Makes 4 says:

    What brilliant answers Little H had!
    I have a daughter, but she’s only two, so the conversations are a little way off yet, but I definitely agree with teaching her that she can do anything!

    Oh, I also agree with the suitable role models!
    #KCACOLS

  7. The Mum Reviews says:

    This is great. I definitely think I lost confidence in my abilities when I was young and even made choices at university based on that lack of confidence. I only have little boys but I’m working on making sure they’re feminists. #kcacols

  8. Sarah Cantwell says:

    This is a great post. As a soon to be mama to two girlies it’s an issue close to my heart. I think it’s so important but also equally important to show our girls (and boys!) that they should be treated with respect xx

  9. tammymum says:

    Absolutely. I really want my daughter to feel and know the sense of equality she is deserved. I do believe the home helps with that and I am currently in a slump of thinking the world is not equal but I was brought up to believe it was and that I could do whatever I wanted. Growing up and throughout my career (until maternity leave anyway) My gender was never an issue to me working as a lawyer so I do believe my upbringing helped with this and I will do the same for both my son and daughter. #marvmondays xx

  10. Cheryl @ Tea or Wine says:

    I have a daughter the same age as yours and another daughter aged 3, so I can totally relate to this post. It’s a huge worry and seeing those statistics only enhance it. Like you, I didn’t think we had to start thinking about this kind of thing yet! I love Little H’s answers to the questions. I’m going to ask my eldest daughter the same tonight.
    I guess we need to keep slowly and surely reinforcing the message that girls are as good as and can do the same things as the boys. Our actions (going to work etc. can only help with this).

    I’m going to check out that Facebook page you recommend and see if there’s any books to help too.

    Thanks for sharing this is interesting (if slightly terrifying!) post! #KCACOLS x

  11. Stephanie says:

    I love the answers! I’m going to ask my twin girls those questions and see what they say. I’ve got ID twin girls, or even is into pretty and pink and the other is more into rough and tumble and anything blue. I’ve allowed them to be who just who they want to be.

  12. Kerry Norris says:

    It’s definetly good to get the inspired, passionate and confident. I’m not too worried about gender stereotyping for my girls at the moment. We have a reward chart too x

  13. Jenna says:

    A brilliant post. I’m now a mummy to two girls and it’s so important to me that they grow up knowing that they are just as capable to do/be anything they want, as boys/men. #MarvMondays

  14. Harriet Lee says:

    Love love love this post!! My daughter is such a headstrong and determined little girl which sometimes I find frustrating but most of the time I think it’s fab. At three I think she already she thinks she can conquer the world!! xo

  15. Bread says:

    I found that study bit scary – though I would like to read the whole study not just the headlines. I’m glad your daughter thinks boys and girls can do whatever they want. It’s keeping things that way. #kcacols

  16. Poppy Reflects says:

    Very interesting and we certainly are trying to raise our daughter so that she feels she can achieve whatever she wants in life and we will also teach our son the same and hope that they both grow up to respect the opposite sex! I actually remember at scool that all the girls were seen as the clever ones and more likely to go on to a successful career etc x #KCACOLS

  17. Madeline (this Glorious Life) says:

    It’s so hard isn’t it, to know what to do to fight this. I have a son and a daughter and am very aware of making sure they both grow up knowing they can do whatever it is that interests them. I want my daughter to know she can do anything her brother can do, and vice versa! x #KCACOLS

  18. Cass Bailey says:

    My daughter is 14 and she never believed that boys were better than girls 😉

    I don’t think our children necessarily think there’s a divide between the sexes at any age unless they’re givem that idea in some way so I definitely don’t think you need to worry x

  19. Jasmine says:

    Love this post!!! We constatntly tell our little princess that she can be whatever she wants to be and her job list for the future is brilliant! So far we haven’t really crossed those paths just yet although she is surrounded by ladies who don’t go out to work everyday so that’s going to cause some questions I’m sure. Xx

  20. Maria says:

    Some great answers! I have two boys and it’s equally as important to also educate them that both boys and girls can do the same jobs. They see me going out to work as well as daddy and they know we both work hard both at work and at home. I’m sure as they grow older we’ll be teaching them more and more about equality.

    Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS and I hope to see you back again on Sunday x

  21. Amie says:

    I’ve always wanted to be the parent that always raises my children up and encourages them to be the best and that they are the best, and that everybody can be the best as long as they are the best person they can be.
    I’m definitely going to push my children and do all I can to help them achieve everything I know that they are capable of. I’m already crazy proud of how fast Amelia picks things up and honestly can’t wait for homework and projects 🙂 #KCACOLS

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