When growing up, children always look up to a parental figure for guidance and support. For every particular situation, girls reach out to either one of their parents (or caregiver) depending on what kind of support they are seeking. In the last few decades, the role fathers (or male caregivers) have in the home has been challenged as gender equality rates are rising and gender roles are changing. Our first attachment patterns shape our expectations for future attachments.
Fathers are girls' first contact with the opposite sex, and will probably set the first model of how a relationship with a man would be.
Fathers should take this into consideration and be extra careful to participate in changing the reality for women and their daughters’ future by setting a good example.
Parents are responsible for the next generation and they should work together in raising their daughters to feel as empowered as their sons. To help you, we have built a short guideline for you on how to empower your daughter and raise them to be strong, opinionated, confident, and independent women in the future.
1. Tell her she is capable of anything
Women are capable of doing anything they want and girls should understand this from the earliest possible stage. They need to feel they can be their true selves. To play with any kind of toy and wear any kind of clothes they feel comfortable in.
There are no limits to being a woman and no set of rules she needs to follow.
It is the parents’ role to support and encourage their daughters to break gender stereotypes and let them explore freely. The impact of receiving this sort of support from a male figure can change how their relationship with males looks in the future and possibly prevent situations of DV and abuse.
2. Nurture her talents and interests
Because women are capable of anything, girls may have hidden talents that break the classic gender role standards. If it’s art, music, or science, girls should always feel supported by their parents in doing whatever makes them feel happy and comfortable with themselves. Take your daughters to that soccer match if they are interested, let them get dirty, remove all social gender-related expectations from them. Show them how capable they are and let them know that they can accomplish anything they set their mind on doing.
It is the parent’s role to empower them by giving them the tools they need to nurture their talents.
This is how we close the gender inequality in the workplace!
3. Challenge her beyond her comfort zone
There are barely any women in leading positions, so if you want your daughter to reach all her potential, let her know early on that getting out of her comfort zones is going to be imperative. Searching for new opportunities and navigating through different alternatives in life is something adults have slowly learned how to do, led by being a role model.
Our daughters need to know they can go beyond their comfort zone and explore as much as they need to find a place where they can fulfill their potential, and never settle for less than they deserve.
4. Be an example of gender equality
Daughters need to see their fathers challenge the gender stereotypes status quo. If we want girls to grow in an environment in which they feel comfortable being themselves and pursuing their passions, the change should start from home.
Fathers need to take responsibility and be active educators and role models for their daughters, showing that cleaning the house or setting the table is not a female job. Dads should be champions of gender equality at home and be an example of showing how change is indeed possible. If girls grow up with this example, they will for sure feel empowered and safe to shine out in the world!
All these tips are just the tip of the iceberg. If fathers truly want their daughters to be empowered, strong, independent, and capable women; able to achieve whatever they set their minds to do, they need to raise their daughters and sons equally. Lastly, we should ALL speak up when injustices happen.
When other people treat our girls inappropriately, it is everyone's job to create an ecosystem of prevention.
A strong community can pave the way to a healthier more equal society where all members are able to gain access to equal opportunities.