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?
I was curious to see what Little H’s thoughts on boys vs girls were…
Me: Who’s smarter boys or girls?
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?
Me: What about a scientist?
Me: A teacher?
Me: A Doctor?
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.
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!
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