Nanit Celebrates International Women’s Day!
International Women’s Day serves as a day to celebrate the aspirations and achievements of women around the world. It also serves as a platform to bring awareness to the continued push toward equality and advocacy of women’s rights.
This year’s theme is ‘Choose To Challenge,’ and the International Women’s Day website describes this as, “A challenged world is an alert world. And from challenge comes change.” This change can only happen when we come together and acknowledge the need to create equality amongst genders, the work to be done to contribute to the advancement of women’s rights, and push back against stereotypical gender roles.
So, what does this mean for families with young children? Parents have the opportunity to educate their children about gender equality and encourage them to follow their dreams. They can begin as early as age 3. While they may notice physical differences earlier than age 3, this is when they can begin to associate certain roles with each gender. They may begin to think that only girls can be nurses and only boys can be firefighters, which we all know isn’t the case. This is why it’s important to start breaking down stereotypes and promoting gender equality at a young age.
This year we asked parents how they’re planning to, or are currently fostering gender equality. Here’s what they had to say:
“By raising our daughter to respect herself and her dreams. Validating any ambitions or ideas she has to create the new “standard” for women. To always make sure she takes care of herself and doesn’t depend on anyone for success. If we have a son, I will teach him the same things. My husband is a great example for our child and future children. He always listens and understands that growing up, there was a difference in opportunities or conditions of situations I dealt with. He has already expressed his concerns for our daughter encountering that and wants to do everything in his power to level the playing field so she can rise above those stereotypical boundaries set by generations before.”
“As a parent I want to neutralize gender roles as they appear for my child. I’m a woman engineer and want him to know that anyone, regardless of gender, can be anything!”
“By demonstrating positive examples of both women and men in non-traditional roles in the home and outside of the home. Showing her that my husband has an equivalent role around the house as I do, and his participation in dishes, laundry, and cleaning is not “helping me”, but being a respectful partner!”
Have you started to introduce the subject of women’s rights and/or gender equality to your children? We’ve broken down 10 ways to start or continue the conversation:
- Have a discussion. It seems like a no-brainer but having an open dialogue with your child is a great way to begin promoting healthy and positive images of themselves and other women and to break down any stereotypes.
- Inspire them to use their voice. Many children are timid and too afraid to speak up. Teaching them to not fear their voice and to speak up when they see injustices is an invaluable skill.
- Actively listen to what they have to say. Being an active listener is even more important than talking. You can pick up on how they’re seeing the world and reacting to what’s going on around them. Children can be confused about what they see and hear so this is also a great time to answer any questions.
- Introduce them to diverse role models. Exposing your children to the diversity of the world is one of the best things you can do. Introducing them to people from all cultures and showing them how they can be role models can help them to become open-minded adults.
- Share the workload at home. Everyone at home should take turns doing chores. These are not gender-specific. All family members should know how to make a home function properly and not wait for someone else to pick up the workload.
- Read books with stories of gender-equal characters. Stories that show men and women accomplishing the same goals are important for children. More and more authors these days are making this a priority in their books.
- Challenge and work to eliminate stereotypes. Teaching your children they can become anything they want if they work hard is crucial. Children shouldn’t be told they can’t do something because of their gender. If they can dream it, they can achieve it.
- Encourage positive self-image. If children don’t have a positive self-image they’re not going to believe they can accomplish things. Teach your children that no one is perfect and encourage them to always find the best inside of them.
- Teach them to be open to all backgrounds and perspectives. Teaching your children about people from different cultures and backgrounds is important so that they can learn how to accept everyone. While people may be different, teaching them that everyone deserves respect will help them as they go along in life.
- Watch your words. Children are impressionable and hang on to our every word. Make sure your language is positive, clean, and free of any derogatory terms. These will help them to be good little humans and even better adults!
Remember, International Women’s Day shouldn’t be something that’s celebrated one day and then forgotten. Its values should be recognized year-round to promote gender equality around the world.