Gender equality is something I strive for in the classroom and in my home. America is certainly moving in the right direction but I cannot leave it in the hands of another educator, religious leader or coach to teach my daughter the basics. Here are 5 Things Girls Need to Know by 5 Years Old.
Women Can Be Rich
The stories are countless in number of tales where women are waiting to be rescued financially. It seems almost every culture in the wold has a tale about a rich prince or king that is looking to save some poor soul of a woman. Teach girls that they can get financial freedom. We spend too much time telling boys to work hard and not enough times telling girls that money is just as important to women as men. Do girls need to know exactly how to invest in mutual funds by their fifth birthday, no, but they should understand that they should just as willing to get out of their comfort zone to achieve wealth as men.
Proper Anatomy Names
Teach your daughter that a penis is a penis, not a dingaling or a pee pee. Breasts are breasts, not boom booms or boobies. These names seem funny and seem innocent but the quicker young girls understand that their body is serious the quicker they will understand that their bodies should be respected. Girls may be more likely to let predators violate them if they refer to their bodies as a play name instead of scientific names. Playful names add confusion when a trip to the doctors arises as well. Girls who refer to their bodies by their proper names may see sex as something more serious later in life and be less likely to partake in risky behavior.
Eating Healthy and Exercise
Both sexes are getting fatter and fatter as generations live more sedentary life styles and eat less healthy foods. It easier to teach young girls about healthy eating at this age. Once they are older and may have gained weight from an unhealthy lifestyle, these teachings may seem more like lectures of body shaming instead of encouragements to start a healthy routine. In addition, a five year old child is less likely to develop eating disorders if they can adapt healthy lifelong habits of eating and exercise than a teenager. Girls are more likely than boys to develop eating disorders so encouraging a beneficial diet might lessen the chance of eating disorders later in life.
The World is Sexist
Instead of trying to make these daughters live in a bubble, parents should address the elephant in the room. Face the facts. The world is sexist. Most of the world does not seen women and men as equals. They have taken strives. Women are making more money. Women are working out of their home more. Women are winning more elections. But, women are still not equal. Parents must tell their girls that the wold does not see them as equal to boys and they have to work harder than boys to gain their goals. Point blank.
Girls need to be taught that they are strong. We teach girls too often to not play rough sports or if they fall down to take a break instead of getting back in the game. There is nothing about girls that is too delicate to compete in physical sports or work in physical occupations. Parents should point to the toughness of Serena Williams, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, or Lisa Leslie. Let girls know that is crying is okay but that does not mean that they can give up when things get rough. Steer girls to dominate sports and classrooms.