How to Raise Strong Girls Who Stand Up For Themselves

Houston we have a problem, my own daughter doesn’t understand why I marched for women’s rights.  I called her from the protest boasting with pride after marching beside my sisters and fellow human beings fighting to keep moving forward in regard to human equality.  Very unenthused, she replied, “what’s not equal?”  

For a moment I felt like the wind had been taken from my sails.  How could I have failed so terribly as a mother that she didn’t see the beauty of democracy in action.  Is she not proud that her mom is taking a stand for women’s rights?  For her rights?  And then I realized that I’ve done such a good job keeping her safe and empowering her that she’s never felt unequal.  Now, I’ve put myself in a position to explain to her, and her 2 sisters, how they will one day experience inequality in its cruelest most devastating form, unless we fight to keep moving forward.

 

I’ve raised strong girls who feel like their voices can change the world.  But, I haven’t told them that if things stay the same, there will come a point in their lives where they will be told their opinion doesn’t matter.  They’ll be shamed for being too emotional or told they’re less intelligent, even though they may be more educated. They will most likely take the insults without speaking up in order to fit in, but the worst part is that they will start to believe it.  I haven’t told them that their voice will matter less, IF WE DON’T MARCH.

My 12 year old and has not yet been deprived of a better job or told that no matter how hard she’ll try, the boys in her class will most likely make more than her.  In my daughter’s classroom, everyone is equal. I haven’t told her that she won’t have equal opportunities, IF WE DON’T MARCH.

My innocent daughter has managed to escape sexual harassment up to her 7th grade year, but we all know her first bra snap or ass grab is right around the corner.  I haven’t talked to her about how she’ll feel when a boy touches her or humiliates her in public, how she’ll want to rip his hand off but will instead smile and brush it off as a joke.  I haven’t told her this harassment will continue for the rest of her life… IF WE DON’T MARCH.

My daughters have grown up in an environment of safety and protection.  They have never experienced stories of rape or molestation.  I have been so busy teaching them that sex should only happen with a partner you love, that I didn’t tell them how likely it is that they may one day find themselves in a situation where they didn’t consent.  Like many other women, they will question whether they deserved it or if others would believe them if they came forward.  They will suffer in silence, IF WE DON’T MARCH.

It is my responsibility as their mother to teach my daughters about inequality so that they do not accept it when it happens to them.  I have to teach them to march through life with signs everyday that say:

  • My Voice Matters
  • Shatter the Glass
  • No Means No

I have to teach them that if anyone violates their body, their voice, or their rights, they need to speak louder, take action, and keep moving forward.

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