Happy International Women’s Day. If you have followed this blog for any amount of time, then you should know that I am all about encouraging and supporting our women, particularly my moms and mother figures because in addition to running companies and supporting the world, you are raising the world and that’s pretty stellar.
International Women’s Day is certainly to celebrate the accomplishments of women everywhere. When you think about it, the state of womanhood has come far. In the United States, I watched for the first time in history as two women stood behind the President during the State of the Union address, Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Politically, these women may not be your cup of tea, but it is hard to ignore the impact that millions of little girls around the world have at seeing women in some of the highest political roles. In other countries, it is even higher with women in the roles of President and Prime Minister. Feel free to view the list here, it’s pretty impressive. Still, there is always room for more.
Today, as the world acknowledges these women and countless others, I plan on spending some extra time with my daughters and affirming them. I often do that, but there is nothing wrong with making sure they have an additional day to walk in strength and dignity. They are never too young to start learning that their gender is NOT a detriment.
How to Raise Confident Daughters in the spirit of International Women’s Day
- Affirm your daughters. I remember a woman once sharing that she and her husband told their daughter daily how smart and beautiful she was. Someone scoffed at that and told them that they would make the child arrogant. The mother answered (beautifully I thought) that she was not making her arrogant, but confident…confident enough to not fall for the first boy to come along and say the same things to her in hopes they’d never been spoken to her. “My daughter will know that she is capable of greatness and it will not be lying on her back”. (AND BOOM BTW!)
- Celebrate their brain. My oldest daughter loves to read. One of her requests for Christmas was a book I’d read when I was her age. She loved it and came downstairs every day to tell me how far she’d read, how many chapters she’d devoured, what she had read. I hyped her every single day. I told her how proud I was of her zeal for reading, how wonderful her comprehension was, and how I couldn’t wait for her to apply that in her daily lessons. When she brings home that report card, we celebrate every high mark and speak sincerely on what I can to do to assist her in areas that need work.
- Celebrate their talent. One of my daughters is a really great artist. Every picture she draws, we recognize. She can accurately depict historical figures or put a smile on your face with the details that she chooses to capture in her pictures. I make sure to save the best drawings ina folder that is converted into a picture book at the end of the school year. Another daughter showcases great athleticism. She is extremely competitive and tries hard to succeed. I am her biggest cheerleader and hypewoman. Having your daughters know they have your support means the world to them.
- Be present. Show up. One of the things I remember most from my childhood is the times my great-grandmother was able to show up for the big events. We lived in a rural community with no car. That was beyond hard, so when I looked out and saw my great-grandmother had made it to an awards program or a exposition, it meant the world to me and let me know that she thought I was more than worth the sacrife to be there.
- Support their right to speak up. I grew up in the “children should be seen and not heard” era. I had some major thoughts and experiences about things that were happening to me or my peers but adults didn’t want to hear them because I was “just a child”. No, children are not on peer levels with adults, but they do have thoughts, feelings, and emotions that are real. Allow your daughters to feel comfortable with politely and respectfully speak out if something feels wrong or dangerous. Teach your daughters that being respectful does not mean remain silent in the face of bullying, abuse, or violence.
- Remind them that you will always be there to support them, even if you do not agree. I have told my daughter several times that I may not agree with a choice she has made, but I respect that she felt strong enough to make it. That being said, actions have consequences. Even when enduring hers, she knows that I still love her and always will.
So there you have it. Happy International Women’s Day. I hope it brings a celebration of the strength and determination of women everywhere. Have a beautiful day.