Empowering Girls of the Future

I am the mother of two exceptional nine-year-old girls. It’s my greatest blessing but also my biggest Challenge. Trying every day to empower and guide them both so that they grow up fearless and mighty has opened my eyes and beliefs on how we treat women and raise our girls in general.

In honour of International Women’s Day, we take a look at how we can enable and empower the girls in our lives, not just our own daughters and encourage them so that they become women of the future who work hard to solve problems and experiment without fear of failure.

Empowering Girls

It doesn’t matter if the girls in your life are 9 months or 19 years take a look at our 14 Top Tips on empowering girls.

1. It Starts With You.
Mummies have the most significant impact on their daughters. Followed closely by other female relatives and teachers and adult friends. So ladies, embrace yourselves first because our girls are watching and listening to every word you say. Stand tall and walk the talk. Mums have a massive impact on their daughters’ body image. Watch what you say and use lots of positive language patterns instead. Lead the way, by continually trying out new things and hobbies. Before I learnt to drive, my daughters at 3 years old asked my husband if mummies were allowed to drive. Awkward.

2. Talk A Lot, Then Double the Effort.
The average woman speaks 20,000 words a day. The average man speaks 7,000 words a day. Encourage the jabber and engage your girl in lots of various, intelligent conversations including topics like body image and bullying. Create open communication and make sure you are listening. Talking like this will make her feel heard, loved and valued. Most mornings it’s like a machine gun of speech in our house. My poor husband.

3. Voicing Opinions
We need girls to know that their thoughts and opinion matter. So encouraging them to speak up about what they believe will stand them in good stead for the future. Don’t hide stuff either, let her watch the news. Teaching her to be a critical observer. Discuss what’s right, and what really does matters. This will help mould her perspective on issues and happenings around the world. One of my daughters once asked if the man with very orange skin and pointy fingers was well enough to be president of the United States. She thought he was unwell… Trump that I thought! A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman.

4. Respect Choices
Respect your girl for her unique personality, who she is and the choices she makes – be it in clothes, hobbies, interests, movies or friends. Don’t impose your expectations on her. Guide her, and allow her to bloom into the person she was always meant to be. This morning one of my kids tucked her Jeans into thick blue fluffy socks and rocked on out the door with orange laces in her trainers. I was so happy.

5. Be the Biggest Cheerleader Ever
Regardless, your daughter needs to know that you’ll be there for her, that you’ve got her back, no matter what – even if she does make mistakes.
Empower your daughters by being their biggest cheerleaders, because it matters the most to her and makes her feel confident brave and loved.

6. Teach Independence and Being Brave
One for the dads here – don’t treat your daughters like they are breakable damsels in distress. Make sure both parents give her the opportunities and tools to try new things. It’s okay to fall, just as long as she gets get back up and tries again. Encouragement to venture out of her comfort zone, and learning something new is a great gift.

7. Instil Confidence and Encourage Friendships
Making good friends and maintaining quality relationships is an invaluable skill. There is nothing like a friendship to boost your confidence and self-esteem, and to cheer you up and on when you are feeling off colour. Research has shown, girls who play on teams have higher self-esteem. Get her involved in activities that build confidence, rather than just focusing on looking good and acquiring things. Theatre, Music and Art allow girls to express themselves and bring out any hidden talents. Both my daughters play Rugby for a well know local team. They are the only girls on their squad and slay it every weekend tackling and scoring tries against the boy!

8. Choose Toys Wisely
Barbie and baby dolls are ok, but in this age, it makes much more sense to arm her with more scientific and logical gadgets instead. The more she’s exposed to such things, the more her critical thinking and understanding of concepts develop. They could even influence career choices later in life. Bring on the tipper trucks and Dino’s bones.

9. Get Money Savvy
When it comes to financial skills and money, we know that women still lag behind men. A way to combat this making your daughter future ready is to introduce her to money early, teaching savings and the value of a pound note! To start, give pocket money encouraging her to save for something she wants. Maybe talking openly about your own saving and spending habits will help too.

10. Teach Her to Dream Big
Encourage your daughter that, no matter how impossible they may seem, dreams are still valid. Teach her to set future goals and start working towards achieving them. Sit with her and help her think it out. Taking small steps every day, week or month in achieving that bigger something.

11 Go Beyond “Pretty”
Stop complimenting your daughter on her physical looks or external characteristics and discourage friends and family who do so too. Make a list of all the other names that you could call your girl. Try brave, warrior, leader, curious, kind, creative, artistic, strong, smart, generous, confident. Your child needs to know that as a girl, she’s much more than a ‘pretty face’. And it starts with the adults around her. Focus more on who she is, than what she looks like. If you want your daughter to grow with high self-esteem, praise her about something non-appearance based.

12 Read it Right
Expose her to female role models whether these be in person or the books she reads. It’s essential to provide our daughters with examples of empowered young women from a variety of backgrounds. Provide her with stories of these real-life superwomen, who overcome incredible odds in life, and made a positive impact in the world. We love the Mighty Girl website for this.

13 Praise On
And by this we mean praise her for working hard rather than being smart. Telling her, she’s smart or ‘good at English’ can be discouraging when encountering subjects that she may find more difficult. Tell her you’re proud she studied so hard, how she didn’t give up on the math problem. If you reinforce positive study habits now, she’s more likely to keep up those habits when she’s struggling.

14 Ask How Things Are Made And Encourage Experimentation
Talk about how things are made, whether it’s computer programs, kitchen gadgets or the National Grid. Demystifying building and designing and engineering, you can change her worldview entirely. She’ll then start to wonder what she can build and what problems in the world she can solve. Testing things out is an excellent way for her to learn new skills, ideas, to think about issues.

Lastly and most importantly, let her know that, no matter what happens in life, you will still love her always.

Empowering Girls

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