Monday Motivation: Be an Inspiration to Young Girls

One of the foremost challenges that professional women face is a lack of mentorship. Lacking quality mentors isn’t limited to universities and workplaces, however. The root of the problem is that the mentorship doesn’t begin early enough. Elementary school is too early for children to start thinking about careers, but simply seeing a total dearth of women in various roles, professions, and career types gives girls the impression that they won’t have as many pathways open to them as boys will when they grow up.

Why Media and Real-Life Examples of Successful Women Are Equally Important

“Teach your daughters to worry less about fitting into glass slippers and more about shattering glass ceilings.” Unknown

Media meant for children has come a long way since we were their age. There’s cartoons that show all types of families and girls as strong characters with agency and a full range of interests, and video games that are a departure from the “save the princess from the dragon” trope. But plenty of problematic media still persists where it shows women and girls as lacking agency and functioning as rewards. The first impressions that most girls get about their opportunities is often predicated on a mix of media on what the women in their families and communities are doing professionally. If they see nothing but full-time caregivers and pink-collar jobs in both real life and the media they consume, it sets a tone for them that their achievements don’t matter.

Girls need to be shown that they have agency and can pursue their interests, and that their accomplishments certainly matter. Show the young girls in your family and community a wide range of media depicting women with different types of careers. Introduce them to women in your community who have careers that differ from yours.

Setting Positive Examples for Your Daughter(s)

“A mother who radiates self-love and self-acceptance actually vaccinates her daughter against low self esteem.” Naomi Wolf

Working mom guilt stops a lot of women from reaching their full potential. Moms who work not only have a higher degree of autonomy than moms who stay home, but also more confidence and personal fulfillment. If you have daughters, you need to set an example that shows them they need to set goals for themselves that will empower them to be as happy and confident as you are with your career.

Whether you have a flexible job or business that lets you work at home or a more traditional workplace and structure, you should openly discuss your work with your children. Show them what you do for a living, what your responsibilities are, and how your professional relationships play a part in your life. Discuss the trials by fire you had in your education and early work experience to get to where you are and help your daughters figure out how they can turn their own passions into a career.

The example you set plays an even more important role beyond the other adults they get to meet and media they consume. Parents/guardians are the first and most omnipresent influence that young girls have, and if you’re clearly unhappy with your work or other aspects of your professional life, they will pick up on it.

Being a Strong Role Model to All Young Girls

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women” Maya Angelou

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and it couldn’t be truer. Not all young girls will have positive female role models they can talk to about their hopes and dreams.

There are large organizations you can volunteer with. You can also look into starting a grassroots mentoring program with other professional women that works with local schools and community organizations. Even something as simple as creating YouTube videos about your career and what other professional women have accomplished can go a long way in showing young girls that they can achieve anything.

How can you do your part to be a strong and positive role model for young girls in your community, and show them that they can pursue a variety of different callings and not be afraid to be ambitious? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. Dianne McNair

    As this generation of young professional women has proven, the opportunities for a successful and empowering future has arrived. Showing young girls What Can Be, rather than What Not to Hope For, is critical. Many have broken the barriers, and it is important for young girls to realize that they can rise against the Old School Corporate agenda. From Engineering and Technology to Judgeship and Members of Congress, the door opened a couple of decades ago. Encourage them not only to dream – but to Dream BIG!

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