It’s real, and she knows it. We might not address it until women are in college or in the workplace, but the reality of gender inequality has already affected her, and will continue to affect her. Inequality of pay, opportunity, respect, access to resources, and other issues may already be affecting her in school and her aspirations for college and career. How can you make sure she has the tools and self-esteem to overcome gender inequality in her life?
3 Ways to Help Your Daughter Overcome Gender Inequality
- Tackle it head on. The first thing you need to do is address the elephant in the room and talk about it with her. Talk about common gender inequality issues – pay, promotion, the number of men vs. women in certain career paths, stereotypes, harassment and assault, and any others you feel are pertinent. She may not be experiencing these things yet, but eventually she will. Help her to recognize and confront these problems, and even model some problem solving techniques with her so she will know what to do when the time comes. You can find more help and guidance at treatment facilities for teen girls.
- Teach her to know and love herself. By far the most critical step, increasing self-esteem prevents a variety of teen girl problems. Teach your daughter that she is important and valuable – to you and to others. Help her discover her strengths, and compliment them regularly. Do whatever it takes to help her pursue these areas of skill. Make sure she knows her strengths and isn’t afraid to show them – because one day these will be her marketable skills. Many women in the workplace feel they cannot show weakness, cry, or place their families first else they be disrespected. If your daughter has self-esteem, strong skills, and an enduring sense of self she will understand that her identity and skill is worth plenty to any company smart enough to employ her! Don’t forget to teach her life skills like money management and other tools for the transition to adulthood.
- Share stories of successful females. Half of the battle is knowing that she doesn’t have to live with gender inequality. Thankfully, the world – and especially women – are making great strides at righting the sexism and gender inequality, and it will only improve if young empowered women know they are capable of more. Tell her about Sheryl Sandberg‘s push for women to “Lean In” and be part of the decision-making process in the workplace. Read Mindy Kaling’s memoirs together, talking about the challenges she’s faced as an overweight minority woman in Hollywood and how she has surpassed the odds to be happy and successful. Watch the speeches and interviews of Malala, the inspiring young girl who fought for equality in education. There are tales of empowered, strong, respected females all over the world making a huge difference in the world of gender inequality. Share these stories with your daughter and help her to understand her worth and ability – she too can break the glass ceiling.
Most importantly, help her to know that gender inequality isn’t a crutch or an excuse to not fight for what she wants. It’s real, it’s unfair, but it doesn’t have to stop women from achieving all the success the world has to offer.