8th of March is International Woman’s Day and this year is celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. It feels great that we have come so far, and we can celebrate strong and powerful women. But what about raising one? Or taking care of one? How do we teach and encourage girls to grow into confident, kind and strong woman?
It often comes to my mind that back in the day as a young girl, I was raised being told – “because you are a girl”. As a young girl sometimes I would be asked to help with the household chores and I remember asking my mum why my brother doesn’t help out as much as I do. She would say “because you are a girl, this is what we do, it’s our duty to take care of the house and family”. Now, as a grown woman, I am thankful for what she taught me. However, my views as a modern-day woman are that we can have professional achievements; high demanding jobs and, equally, when it comes to the home, that can / should be equally split with our male family members, our partner or husband.
I am grateful that we live in a society where as women we have more freedom of choice, have a voice and can study. We have equal rights as males and, on the whole, can work in whatever profession we choose. That said, there’s still ample room for improvement!
As a professional woman, I’ve chosen to make a difference in children’s lives. I am a qualified practitioner working as a nanny. During my nanny career I aim to have a positive impact on the girls I look after and to model positive Self-confidence. I think it is important to start from a very young age. If you want a confident girl, you have to be a confident adult. Always make positive comments and teach her/them to try new ways of doing things if they don’t succeed at first. There’s no such thing as “it’s hard because you are a girl”.
I have long since removed negative statements from my vocabulary. If I don’t succeed at first with something I say out loud “Well, you’re going to have to keep trying,” or, “you’d better get in some more practice”. My female charges will learn to follow my example of picking myself up by the bootstraps and getting back on the horse. Good female role models encourage girls to practice and keep trying; not to give up on a first attempt just because it’s hard or challenging. As the saying goes “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”.
We need to teach and encourage girls to be kind to each other and stick up for themselves and others. Something hat doesn’t always come easy.
I love to read books about strong girls. Hearing stories about girls who are strong and kind can reinforce those values. I will talk to my charges about how the characters may be feeling, how they positively dealt with a situation, and what the outcome was. There are some great stories that highlight strength, kindness, and bravery in little girls, characteristics that little girls need to hear about and learn early on. Being kind and strong gives them better armour against inequality and other challenges as they go through life.
Kindness is a wonderful trait to have. Teaching girls to be kind to everyone is necessary but, kindness alone isn’t enough. We should also be empowering them to be strong and confident so they can stick up for themselves and others. As we all know, it can be hard to “stick up for the underdog” or to make your own decisions even if it goes against what a group tells you. It’s important we teach that just because there’s a kid that others don’t talk to, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk to them; to understand everyone has value and it’s okay to be different.
We as nannies have a great responsibility in raising strong and confident girls. Be a role model in their life, and reinforce kindness, strength, and confidence which are necessary characteristics that will benefit every girl and young women for life.
For this years International Women’s Day the theme is #ChooseToChallenge and I’d like to challenge you to reflect constantly on the role model you are with your female charges.
BAPN Membership Ambassador