Monday Author: Susanne Skinner
We need women role models everywhere. It is really hard to imagine yourself
as something you don’t see. ~ Chelsea Clinton
I am part of a circle of confident, intelligent bad-ass women. They fill my life with friendship, support, inspiration and motivation. As women-of-a-certain-age I invite all of us to use our hard-earned life lessons and pay it forward.
Young girls wanting to be just like us will never have better teachers. It is up to us to empower them to change the status quo and replace it with one that values inclusivity and equality.
Women Empowering Women
The power of women helping other women blesses the giver and the receiver. It establishes just how impactful women are when they support one another and set examples for those who follow.
The moment we enter this world, role models surround us. We grow into ourselves based on the positive and negative influences we experience. How we incorporate and use that information defines the outcomes and paths we choose. We have a lot to offer the next generation—let’s not waste the opportunity to show them how it’s done.
October 11 celebrated The International Day of the Girl. I encourage all my women friends to share your talents and time to influence and shape the life of a little girl with big dreams.
The Importance of Role Models
Female role models are integral to young girls learning to believe in themselves. Fearless women who were ahead of their time left indelible marks in my life and taught me what is possible. Even though some of them are no longer with us their mentoring continues to guide and inspire me.
All girls deserve equal rights and opportunities. The future of the world’s economies, institutions, and nations rest on these girls becoming tomorrow leaders, teachers, scientists, healers, politicians and mothers. A strong role model is not defined by a fancy title or wealth but by a commitment to equality and inclusion.
It is our gift to be able to offer ourselves as role models, not only to give young women someone to look up to but to walk alongside them. Their gender should not restrict the paths they choose but you and I both know it does. Together we can help crack the glass ceiling for every young girl with a dream.
Our actions become their actions. By modeling consistent values, attitudes and behaviors, they can imagine themselves with those same qualities. Studies show young women emulate role models they perceive as being like themselves in gender, race and ethnicity.
Under-representation, especially from minorities, means its challenging for some girls to see themselves reflected in those they aspire to be like. We have the power to change that just by being who we are, helping them visualize success.
Gender equality means everyone has equal power and opportunity for financial independence, education, and personal development. If you’re like me, I can hear you saying pfft – if only that were true. Discriminatory laws and social inequity remain and women continue to be underrepresented in every aspect of politics, business, education, and the military.
Women have fewer opportunities for economic success, less access to basic and higher education, greater health and safety risks, and less political representation. Their rights, opportunities, and access to society should not be different based on their gender.
Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but the basic tenet of a sustainable world. It is part of international human-rights law under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1948.
Equal Opportunities for Girls
The first step toward overcoming any challenge is awareness. There is no better time to promote the need for more women in roles held by men. The current focus of employers and the media lends itself to a higher awareness of equality and fairness in the workplace.
Young girls who see gender inequality in their homes, workplaces and communities say the most common challenge they face is their own lack of confidence. By supporting their curiosity and interest in programs and activities that lead to more equality we encourage a generation of girls to reach for the stars. We teach them not conform to the bias of social norms society and the digital world show them.
Tell Your Story to a Girl
Strong role models push comfort zones and boundaries, helping young women believe anything is possible. When we set examples of what it looks like to live with optimism, determination, passion, and hope, we are leading by example. Creating the next generation of mentors, leaders, role models and mothers is accomplished by teaching them to stand confidently in their own power.
For International Day of the Girl 2021, Inspiring Girls International (a UK-based non-profit) initiated a global campaign called #ThisLittleGirlIsMe to showcase women role models on social media.
While working on the campaign the team found that over 90% of girls develop higher personal and career aspirations by following inspirational women on social media.
The campaign asks women to post a picture of themselves as a little girl, sharing their ambitions at that age along with a piece of advice they would give their younger selves. #ThisLittleGirlIsMe is the key hashtag binding these stories together.
Initially an Instagram campaign, it got a great deal of traction on LinkedIn, empowering young women professionals to imagine a successful future. It facilitates commentary and networking and underwrites the courage and determination of those sharing their stories.
The curated stories on the hashtag promote a broad outreach as increasing numbers of women take advantage of this opportunity to tell their stories. Help someone believe in themselves by sharing your story.