Our children, both girls and boys, are watching us, to see how to form their views about women’s role in society. It is our privilege and responsibility to change the narrative from years gone and by and make a difference! We need to answer the question of why women role models matter for boys and girls. That’s right! Not only is it important to showcase powerful, strong women to our daughters, but also to our sons. Only when we raise all our kids to see women as equals will we be able to truly mark the differences in how women are perceived on all sides.
How it Helps Our Girls
INSPIRATION Girls who watch and learn from women role models get a chance to really see a part of themselves in their active and successful stories. This gives rise to inspiration and helps girls dream dreams that really can come true. When our daughters see other women rise above division and inequality, they get the sense that they can, too!
NORMALIZING Beyond that, it helps our girls to start planning all the things that they WANT to do and that they CAN do. When you see girls actively role-playing traditionally male-centered parts, you can see that we are normalizing the fact that women can do anything that they set their hearts to. There is no intrinsic reason why a woman (or a girl) can’t do anything that a man (or a boy) can do. INTERNALIZING It also gives our daughters the vocabulary they need to speak about these issues. A girl with strong women role models will naturally assume that there is no limit to her abilities. She will internalize her own self-worth and live life from a mindset of independence and capability.
ACTION Furthermore, it will cause our girls to fight for other girls and their causes. When they see their fellow girlfriends being suppressed, quieted, ignored, passed over, teased, or bullied, they will lend encouragement, strength, and action. They will stand up for each other and help each other find their voices. And as we continue our discussion about why women role models matter for girls AND boys, consider the voice of Dr. Olivia J. Mullins, Founder and Executive Director of Science Delivered who states in her article Boys Need Female Role Models Too:
“It’s important for all children to have role models that share aspects of their identity, and it’s also important for children to have role models who are different from them. In this way, children can understand that there is space for everyone in leadership roles and in different career paths.” And then we can understand:
How it Helps Our Boys
Boys who are exposed to women role models learn to question the status quo. They see that society has been passing down a lie from generation to generation. They don’t question that girls are their equals, for it is obvious to them that within women is not just beauty, but strength, power, and incredible intelligence. RESPECT As we raise our sons with women role models, they learn utmost respect and see them for the fellow humans they are. Feminism will not intimidate them or aggravate them, as they will have learned that women have long fought for equal standing in a male-dominated world. They will know the issues and stand with the girls.
Boys will carry this influence for a lifetime and become vocal demonstrators of women’s rights. And they will use this influence to enact change around them. They will be proud to help carry the torch of equality because it is a part of who they are. They will see women as leaders and promote them as such. TREATMENT
As we raise our sons with women role models, we will see the action play out from childhood to adulthood. Boys will think twice before resorting to teasing or bullying and shun those who do. They will gravitate towards working together for a brighter future for their classmates, friends, and sisters.
Women role models matter for girls and boys because they leave deep impressions on young souls. They inspire everyone to join the hands of a collective humanity and make life a little better for all of us each passing moment. So, expose your children, boys and girls alike, to powerful women in your family, community, and world. Get them listening. Get them talking. Read them stories of women role models throughout history! Give them toys and books that promote women in leadership positions.
Challenge them to push back against society and help them feel comfortable talking about all that women can do and all that women have done. For these are the influences that help everyone reconsider negative stereotypes and cause us to want to build new pathways toward success for all.