“I challenge assumptions about women. I do make some people uncomfortable, which I’m well aware of, but that’s just part of coming to grips with what I believe is still one of the most important pieces of unfinished business in human history—empowering women to be able to stand up for themselves.”
A few months ago, a woman lost the presidential election. We all know who this woman is and we’re all well aware of what a grand disappointment and sorrow her losing has brought upon millions of Americans, both locals and expats. This is yet another reason why we need to raise strong women.
We’ve all trusted a change was about to happen; we thought for a second our daughters will have someone other than us, their mothers, to learn from. We hoped a woman was going to be heard.
Winning the election would have been more than just a democracy refreshed; it would’ve been a beacon of hope for all the young women out there, all the brilliant, ambitious, yet to be accomplished young girls who are at the beginning (or at the peak) of their professional lives. This was supposed to be a change, a milestone so grand that everything would’ve gotten a different flavor.
In her emotional post-election speech, Hillary spoke about many things, addressing one aspect in particular: “…and to all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.” Thank you.
With a bitter taste in our mouths but refusing to surrender, we will raise strong women. With us as their teachers, our daughters will learn (and understand) the following:
Their education is their power
Educated, enlightened and knowledgeable women will always know their intellectual power and value in the world; they will never allow any man or other woman beat them to their well-deserved prizes, their acknowledgements or chairs. Knowing (the matter) opens a lot of doors—doors to a career, self-respect and strength.
They are their own bosses
A woman that knows she is the only one who can boss herself around. She is a woman who knows how to protect herself from those who are looking to dominate her life—emotionally, professionally or otherwise. Self-worth and self-respect should be the building principles of our daughters’ characters. That’s why, aside of all the years of education, to raise strong women we teach them to love themselves first.
They are stronger than they think they are
In a male-dominated world, where women are paid up to 30% less for the same jobs their fellow men are doing, in a world where “male sports” apparently “aren’t fit for girls,” we want to raise our daughters stronger than those injustices and prejudices.
We’ll fight for the inclusion of our girls into “male sports” where buying soccer equipment for a girl will be just as accepted as buying ballerina shoes. We’ll teach them that they don’t need anyone—not their boyfriends, husbands, even us parents—to do things for them (kill a bug, change a bulb, drive them here and there, earn a budget…) and that they’re strong enough to do it themselves. To raise strong women, we’ll also teach them that they can both be strong (professionally) and meek (emotionally). The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
They have the right to say “No”
Whether their “No” spans the emotional, forceful, professional, familial or personal—it’s their right and they should exercise it. Naturally, our daughters should and will know the difference between their choice to refuse something and their lack of manners when denying (to do) something.
She’ll know that…
- No, it is not okay to touch her when she doesn’t want it.
- No, she doesn’t have to do what you are forcing her to.
- No, she won’t work hundreds of dollars worth of work for a penny.
- No, she is better than your drunken seductive attempt.
- No, she won’t stay with you and hurt herself.
- No, you don’t own her. She owns herself.
- No, she won’t let you take credit for her idea.
- No, she won’t let you humiliate her.
- No, she won’t let you drain her energy.
- No, she won’t say “No” to a person asking help.
She’ll know the difference.
They are worthy of love
We’ll make them understand how precious they are—to us (their parents), to themselves, the next person and the world. They’ll know this. We’ll make sure they do.
I believe mothers all around the world can say that they’ll never give up raising strong women. They’re encouraging their little girls to fight for themselves and become the best, strongest, most independent versions of themselves. And long may it be so.
Zara Lewis (Twitter: @ZaraELewis) is a mom, fitness & yoga enthusiast and a regular writer for High Style Life. She is devoted to implementing healthy life habits in every aspect of life of her family and friends. She loves to share her parenting tips and is always open to learning some new skills, because for her parenthood is like going to school forever. She enjoys traveling, hiking, cycling and baking.