Girls are different from boys. It’s not new information, of course. The differences go far beyond mere physical features, though. Their brains, hormones, personality traits, and more can all be complete opposites at times. In fact, we’ve found that even conditions like ADHD can affect boys and girls completely differently. However, in this age of gender equality we are growing to realize more and more that the genders are not as segmented or opposite. We are accepting more crossover between the genders, allowing both boys and girls to do any type of activity or pursue any interest or career they may desire.
Girls Can Do Anything Boys Can Do
In recent years there has been a big push to allow girls the same access and priority to activities, subjects, and even sports that have been traditionally “male.” For example, STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math) has gone to great lengths to place focus on girls as of late. For decades there have been such low numbers of girls interested in STEM education and careers, that schools, colleges, and other groups are doing much to encourage girls to pursue STEM interests. It’s an excellent way to ensure that girls are getting the same treatment and access as boys do in school.
The efforts don’t stop in your daughter’s math classes. There are sports leagues including girls in traditionally male sports such as football. Musical instruments or hobbies that previously targeted boys can now advertise for girls. We push girls to research a variety of careers, colleges, and futures that in the past might be frowned upon in favor of more feminine life choices. Are we going too far? Probably not, but there is a balance that we need to strike.
Letting Girls Determine Their Strengths
We should continue to work toward gender equality – making all subjects, activities, careers, and lives possible for both girls and boys. We should be raising our daughters with the skills and confidence to do and become whatever they want. But above all we need to let THEM decide what that may be.
It is possible that some parents and mentors are overcompensating for gender equality by forcing or over-encouraging their young girls into these traditionally male fields. As a parent you want your daughter to have plenty of opportunities, but the most important part of gender equality is the choice. We have to allow our daughters the freedom to choose the activities and careers which interest them. If it’s STEM careers or being an artist or becoming a mother – gender equality doesn’t mean girls need to do everything boys are doing. It means your daughter has the blessing of becoming anything she wants, and determining her strengths for herself.
During these critical years, do your best to support your teen daughter in any of her interests and strengths. You can find more resources and help here for raising a healthy, happy daughter who can become anything in the world.