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How do we socialize our kids?


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Stereotypes start very young... Through clothes, toys, children books or movies, we already trap our children in rigid boxes. Even our verbal or non verbal communication towards them is biased. How can we be more aware of it and challenge this limiting conditioning?

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How do we socialize our kids?

  1. 1. How do we socialize our kids? When equal play leads to equal pay
  2. 2. From a very young age, our children are trapped in boxes
  3. 3. Starting with the clothes
  4. 4. Smart like Daddy Cute like Mummy
  5. 5. Clothes convey specific messages
  6. 6. Gap comes under fire for sexist back-to-school advertisement
  7. 7. Gendered clothes: autonomy vs dependence • Boys’ clothes are supposed to be comfortable while girls’ clothes ought to be pretty. • Girls’ clothes hinder movement and exploration (dresses or skirts). Adults tend to tell girls to be careful (eat properly, don’t climb trees…) to respect their clothes. • Boys have faster attach models (scratches,…) when girls need help with laces and delicate outfit. • On schools’ special days, girls are encouraged to conform to princesses or traditional outfits when boys have more range of choice. Source: Rapport sur l'égalité entre les filles et les garçons dans les modes d'accueil de la petite enfance
  8. 8. And girls have very soon a dress code for schools • Frequently, female students are told to "dress for their bodies” which is an issue outside of the schools jurisdiction. • Wearing shorts and a tank top does not impede upon a female student's ability to learn, nor should it impede upon the ability of a teacher to teach . • This strict dress code perpetuates rape culture by suggesting to girls that their way of dress is punishable and justifies their sexualization. • It suggests that it is their responsibility to dress modestly as to keep from “distracting” their male counterparts. • This is a ridiculous sentiment and is offensive to both males and females. The true issue lies in a culture that sexualizes girls, not in the supposed tantalizing nature of spaghetti- straps.
  9. 9. Children movies shape our children psyche
  10. 10. Disney princesses teach our girls who they should be
  11. 11. Disney princesses teach our girls who they should be
  12. 12. The widespread exposure of young girls to Disney princesses could lead young children, and girls especially, to believe that they cannot do certain activities and jobs that they associate as being more masculine in nature.
  13. 13. And children cartoons mostly portray male as protagonists
  14. 14. What about the books?
  15. 15. Books have an important role in children’s socialization • Women in children books are mostly non working mums. • When they work, they don’t have children. • And they occupy stereotypical activities.
  16. 16. Even children literature vehicle sexist stereotypes • Compared to females, males are representednearly twice as often in titles and 1.6 times as often as central characters. • Researchers talk about a 'symbolic annihilation of women’ • "One thing that surprised us is that females' representations did not consistently improve from 1900 to 2000; in the mid part of the century it was actually more unequal. Books became more male dominated." • Source: Gender in Twentieth-CenturyChildren’s Books • Patterns of Disparity in Titles and Central Characters
  17. 17. Masculine is universal • In popular children’s books featuring animated animals, 100% of them have male characters, but only 33% have female characters. • Male characters are little described according to gender attributes while female are (clothes, hairdress, jewels) • The average number of books featuring male characters in the title of the book is 36.5% versus 17.5% for female characters. • Female characters in books that are for “everyone” are often marginalized, stereotyped or one- dimensional. Source: Soraya Chemaly. Huff Post
  18. 18. Even in higher quality children’s literature, more subtle stereotypes remain • The adjectives used are different: beautiful, sweet, weak, scared vs big, horrible, fierce, great, brave, proud. • Girls are often left out of the adventure, the thrill, the plot. • And it is easier to find an adventurous girl than a fearful boy. • Children receive the impression that girls are not very important because no one has bothered to write books about them. • Mothers label gender-neutral characters in picture books as male. • We have a tendency to think of people or creatures as male unless otherwise indicated. • men are people, women are women.
  19. 19. Boys are not encouraged to immerse themselves in books about girls • Exposing boys to female protagonists is crucial but difficult, given that these characters are highly under-represented in children's literature. • 57% of children's books published each year feature male characters, whereas only 31% feature central female characters. Source: Soraya Chemaly. Huff Post
  20. 20. Books for girls are for girls only • Hale created the Twitter hashtag #BoysReadGirls and encouraged users to generate a list of books featuring female protagonists and start a conversation about the issue. • "The more we read books about people different from us, the more empathy we have for them," Hale told Mic.
  21. 21. Children’s ability to cross-gender empathize is a one-way street — girls have to do it and boys learn not to. • Hale agrees that exposure to books in which women are secondary or erased altogether only reiterates a cultural landscape in which young women are valued more for their appearance and sex appeal than their intellect. • As she wrote on her website, this perpetuates "the myth that women only have things of interest to say to girls while men's voices are universally important." • Failing to encourage boys to empathize with women and reinforcing the notion that women only exist to bolster men's experiences creates a reality in which "boys aren't expected to understand and empathize with the female population of the world," Hale wrote. This, in turn, "leads to rape culture."
  22. 22. Media misrepresentations contribute in boys to a heightened inability to empathize with others • Boys who grow up seeing themselves everywhere as powerful and central just by virtue of being boys, often white, are critically impaired in many ways. • It’s a rude shock to many when things don’t turn out the way they were told they should. • Failure to understand why rules apply or why accountability is a thing. • It should mean something to parents that the teenagers with the highest likelihood of sexually assaulting a peer and feel no responsibility for their actions are young white boys from higher-income families. • The real boy crisis we should be talking about is entitlement and outdated notions of masculinity, both of which are persistently responsible for leaving boys confused and unprepared for contemporary adulthood. Source: Soraya Chemaly. Huff Post
  23. 23. Even class books and material are biased • "Children's books are filled with social constructs: the girl is a nurse; the boy is a firefighter.” • Only 5% of texts studied in French highschool have been written by women. Reference to female philosophers don’t surpass 1%. • Only 11% of French universities are run by women, 10% in Europe when 59% of university students are women. • Source: – enseignement-universitaire-les-femmes-sous-representees.html – ordinaire-dans-les-manuels-de-francais-.html • Yet, they are supposed to convey society’s values.
  24. 24. What about the toys?
  25. 25. Toys exaggerate gender division • Toys most associated with boys are related to fighting or aggression (wrestlers, soldiers, guns, etc.), and the toys most associated with girls are related to appearance (Barbie dolls and accessories, ballerina costumes, makeup, jewelry, etc.).
  26. 26. Toys for boys are more diverse than girls’ • They are more associated to the external world and tend to be manipulated. • Girls’ toys are less diverse and mostly linked to domestic or “maternal” activities. • Girls' toys (shops, kitchens, dolls) invite to role playing and develop verbal abilities. • Boy’s toys of construction encourage manipulation and exploration to get spatial and analytical skills. • Interior vs exterior, danger vs security, competition vs cooperation. Source: Rapport sur l'égalité entre les filles et les garçons dans les modes d'accueil de la petite enfance
  27. 27. Young children don’t make any differences • Boys from 2 or 3 are as likely as girls to use dolls. • Researcher Isabelle Cherney found that half of boys ages 5-13 picked “girl” and “boy” toys equally... unless they were being watched. • They were especially concerned about what their fathers would think of them if they saw them. • Over time, boys’ interests in toys and media become more rigidly masculinized, whereas girls’ stay relatively open-ended and flexible. • Think of the implications of storytelling on that pattern and what it means for social skills development, adaptability, work-life issues and more. Source: Rapport sur l'égalité entre les filles et les garçons dans les modes d'accueil de la petite enfance
  28. 28. No dolls for boys • Boys are especially stigmatized for crossing the gender aisle in toys and clothes – a fact that seems to arise from a deep misogyny, homophobia and transphobia: a suspicion of any boy who embraces femininity, which is considered synonymous with weakness and subordination. • There are far too many stories of children being bullied or taunted for selecting toys that are perceived as gender non- conforming.
  29. 29. Segmenting the toy market brings greater profits by making it harder for parents to pass down items between siblings of a different sex • A few years back, ads were more neutrals but this division of the market allows to multiply the sales. • In the US, regulations around TV advertising to children were stripped away in 1984. • Imagine a world where we would segregate left handed and right handed by colour, verbally and children notice that primary caregivers are left handed and building sites are done by right handers. How would you see the world? • Young children learn there are 2 categories of people and they learn very fast how to differentiate them from 2 years old. Source: Rapport sur l'égalité entre les filles et les garçons dans les modes d'accueil de la petite enfance
  30. 30. Colours: the dictatorship of pink and blue aisles
  31. 31. Paoletti: pink and blue is a very recent concept • In the Victorian era, both boy and girl babies were dressed in white gowns and there was no attempt to signal a child's gender. • In the first half of the 20th century, rules began emerging for pink and blue, but they were loose. Pink was a lighter version of red, a rather masculine colour. • By the 50s, pink had become strongly associated with femininity, but boys still often wore it, while by the 70s, the two colours certainly didn't dominate the toy market. • During the heyday of unisex parenting, which lasted from 1965 to 1985, mainstream shopping catalogues in the US carried no pink clothing for toddlers, and only a few pink items for babies. • Barbie doll in 1959 and her pink princess image anchored even more the pink dictatorship in our spirits. • Babies are not “naturally” attracted to one colour or another. (Melissa Hines)
  32. 32. Pink helps to lure girls away from more active toys and games that encourage the development of spatial and analytical skills
  33. 33. Toy Ad Vocabulary Reinforces Gender Stereotypes BOYS GIRLS
  34. 34. And girls are sexualized earlier and earlier…
  36. 36. As caregivers, which attitudes do we encourage?
  37. 37. The illusion of gender neutral parenting • When women did not know the sex of their baby during pregnancy, no particular pattern was perceived. • But women who knew the sex of their unborn baby described the movements differently: – Males were active vigorous, strong. – Females were NOT violent, NOT excessively energetic... • Even the voice mums used to speak to the baby is different. • Parents of boys expressed more pride in the news and parents of girls expressed more happiness. • So children are unequal even before birth. • And then parenting begins.
  38. 38. Caregivers interpret differently babies’ reactions • In an experiment, two groups were shown the same video of a crying baby. • One was said to be a girl, the other a boy. • The “girl” group thought the baby was crying out of fear when the “boy” group thought it expressed anger.
  39. 39. When mothers underestimate girls and overestimate boys • Research from Francoise Heritier: Gendered expectations also bias mothers’ perceptions of their infants’ physical abilities: – Mothers from 6-8 months old babies asked to estimate steepness of slope their babies could manage. – Girls and boys with same crawling ability but mothers underestimated girls’ and overestimated boys’.
  40. 40. Even though they sincerely claim to hold the two sexes as equal, parents simultaneously devalue the feminine and limit boys’ access to it. • Parents talk less to baby boys and are less likely to use numbers when speaking to little girls. • Babies are sensitive to emotional reactions of caregivers: facial expressions and tone of voice according to what toys should be approached or avoided. • Mothers talk more to girls than to boys and they talk about emotions differently to the two sexes. • Parents’ implicit attitudes about gender might be subtly transmitted to their children. • They also learn from what is not said but expressed in more subtle ways, even if this contradicts the spoken message. • Parents encourage gender-types activities and play, discourages cross- gender behaviour. • Only 25% of 3year old girls thought heir mother would want them to play with a baseball or skateboard compared with 80% of 3yer old boys. • Masculinity is seen as something that need to work on to accomplish. • Cross-gender behaviour is seen as less acceptable in boys than in girls: unlike term tomboy, nothing positive about being a “sissy”.
  41. 41. As well as gender stereotypes, children may be learning not to follow their interests or preferences for certain toys for fear of being teased.
  42. 42. Classroom management techniques rewards obedience versus assertiveness, which puts highly active children at a disadvantage • Males demand and receive more attention from their teachers and therefore receive more specific, instructive feedback from teachers (Erden & Wolfgang, 2004). • In comparison, females become less demanding of the teacher’s attention; that results in lower levels of achievement and self- esteem, which therefore limits their career goals to more traditional, nurturing, and often lower-paying careers.
  43. 43. Teachers use a different language for girls and boys • “honey” and “sweetie” are used to address girls and “you guys” when speaking to the entire class. • Teachers interact more often with boys than girls: ask them to speak more often, give them more time to answer and spend more time answering to their interventions. • Teachers interrupt more frequently boys than girls. • Yet, teachers and caregivers are rarely trained about gender socialization.
  44. 44. Boys and girls are socialized to different activities • Boys are encouraged to team sports involving competition and space occupancy while girls are encouraged to engage in individual activities with less competition. • Competition teaches to manage failure and success, has an impact of self-esteem and coping with risk taking. • Technicity vs elegance • Football outside vs Dolls inside • Boys learn to own and occupy the space, girls to share it. • An agitated little girl will get more scolded than a boy. • Girls are more orientated towards calm, sitting activities while boys are engaged in mobile activities. Source: Rapport sur l'égalité entre les filles et les garçons dans les modes d'accueil de la petite enfance
  45. 45. Gendered storytelling • Parents discuss more emotional experiences with their daughters: they refer more to sadness with them and to anger with boys. • Sons are more likely to be told stories of autonomy and achievement. • Daughters are more likely to be told stories of relationships or support. • Fathers more often tell stories of mastery and success. • Mothers’ stories are usually a direct expression of emotion.
  46. 46. Fathers are more likely than mothers to react negatively to cross-gender behavior, especially with sons.
  47. 47. And what do children see at home?
  48. 48. Household chores are still not evenly shared
  49. 49. The more she earns, the more housework she does • In families with children in which both spouses work full-time, women do about twice as much child care and housework as men. • Mabel Ulrich: Not so easy to be the husband of a modern woman: she is everything his mother wasn’t and nothing she was. He might agree intellectually but emotionally reluctant. • Her implicit mind, her social identity as mother or wife triggers her to load the washing machine etc... • Many mothers eliminate from their mental decision- space work choices that would require their husbands more responsibility for the children.
  50. 50. 550 14Globally, girls aged 5–14 spend 550 million hours every day on household chores, 160 million more hours than boys their age spend. A girl aged 5–9 spends an average of almost four hours per week on household chores while older girls aged 10–14 spend around nine hours per week on these activities. In some regions and countries, these numbers are twice as high. MILLION HOURS / DAY HOURS / WEEK In the three countries with the highest prevalence of involvement in household chores, on average, more than half of girls aged 5–14 spend at least 14 hours per week, or at least two hours per day, on household chores (Somalia 64 per cent, Ethiopia 56 per cent and Rwanda 48 per cent). Globally girls spend 160 million more hours on household chores than boys their age Harnessing the Powerof Data for Girls Taking stock and looking ahead to 2030
  51. 51. 50 2/3 countries, these numbers are twice as high. COOK AND CLEAN IN THE HOME per cent and Rwanda 48 per cent). Worldwide, girls aged 5–9 and 10–14 spend, respectively, 30 per cent and 50 per cent more of their time helping around the house than boys of the same age. In some regions, the gender disparities can be even more severe: In the Middle East and North Africa and South Asia regions, girls aged 5–14 spend nearly twice as many hours per week on household chores as boys of the same age. In countries with available data on chores by type, almost two thirds of girls aged 5–14 (64 per cent) help with cooking or cleaning the house. The second most commonly performed task among girls this age is shopping for the household (50 per cent), followed by fetching water or firewood (46 per cent), washing clothes (45 per cent), caring for other children (43 per cent) and other household tasks (31 per cent). % MORE TIME SPENT ON CHORES THAN BOYS Harnessing the Powerof Data for Girls Taking stock and looking ahead to 2030
  52. 52. Which impact?
  53. 53. Construction of gender stereotypes for children • Children begin to form concepts of gender beginning around age 2, and most children know if they are a boy or girl by the age of 3 (Martin & Ruble, 2004). • Between the ages of 3 and 5 years, children develop their gender identity and begin to understand what it means to be male or female. • Almost immediately after becoming gender aware, children begin developing stereotypes, which they apply to themselves and others, in an attempt to give meaning to and gain understanding about their own identity. • These stereotypes are fairly well developed by 5 years of age, and become rigidly defined between 5 and 7 years of age (Martin & Ruble, 2004), making the preschool years a critical period to deal with gender stereotypes. • Stereotypes and sexism limit potential growth and development (Narahara, 1998) because internalizing negative stereotypes impacts self-esteem and ultimately, academic performance. Long-term gender bias effects become most apparent in students during adolescence (Carlson, Egeland, & Sroufe, 2004).
  54. 54. Through our choice of toys, clothes, activities and verbal or nonverbal messages, we foster the development of different skills GIRLS • Playing dress-ups encourages imagination and offers opportunities for the development of social skills as children engage with one another, acting out often elaborate made-up stories with one another. BOYS • Activities such as riding scooters help children develop physically and personally, teaching skills like balance, spatial awareness and confidence while strengthening their muscles. • Constructing model toys and building things helps develop fine motor skills, problem solving and language development and fosters concentration. • Children gain self-esteem in successfully finishing a project.
  55. 55. Through our choice of toys, clothes, activities and verbal or nonverbal messages, we foster the development of different skills GIRLS • Conform and be quiet • Direct energy towards physical appearance • Be of service • Use seduction as a way to get what you want • Need to overcompensate and overdeliver BOYS • Be confident • Analytical and spatial skills • Take risk • Speak up • Independence • Unearned confidence in their abilities
  56. 56. Early sexualization damages children • Girls feel worse about their bodies and have lower self- esteem after exposure to sexualization.
  57. 57. More than 70% of girls, starting as young as third grade, are unhappy with their bodies. • Many report dieting by age 12. Boys, in contrast, are much happier with their bodies. • Combine those statistics with the studies showing that girls who were asked to play with Barbies have worse body image after a brief play period compared to girls who were asked to play with normally-proportioned dolls.
  58. 58. Academic aspirations start to differ • The hidden messages that girls receive about math, science, and technology shape their self-concept, confidence, and interest in those subjects (Ebach, et al. 2009). • These messages can come from bias in the media, from family or teachers who may exhibit lower expectations for females in these subject areas, or even from the medium itself, as in the case of computer software demonstrating a high level of gender bias favoring males (McNair, KirovaPetrova, & Bhargava, 2001).
  59. 59. Ask children to draw some professionals…
  60. 60. …and you would be surprised • The children were asked to draw a nurse, a builder, a lawyer and a banker, and also the job they aspire to when they grow up. • Where gender was identifiable, the drawings showed a clear gender skew for specific roles: – 81% of children drew nurses as female; – 88% of children drew builders as male; – 80% of children drew bankers as male; – The most gender balanced of the professions, 65% of children drew lawyers as male.
  61. 61. Impact on future perspectives • When asked to nominate jobs that they would not want, both girls and boys rejected more traditionally female occupations than male and neutral careers. • Girls as young as 4 have already internalized the belief that women’s work is neither as valuable nor as desirable as men’s.
  62. 62. Because it’s 2017! • In 2017, many mothers mow the lawn, many fathers push prams, many brothers enjoy cooking and sisters own drills, many uncles are hairdressers, many aunts are doctors. • Why aren’t these realities reflected in toy shops?
  63. 63. Children benefit from having access to a range of toys as this maximises their opportunities to learn and develop important skills in different areas. • All children should have toys that foster nurturance, empathy, and perspective taking like dolls, fine motor skills and spatial skills — like building toys and puzzles- and hand-eye coordination like ball toys. • No children should have toys that model unattainable bodies like Barbies or foster violence and aggression like guns.
  64. 64. If you want to develop children's physical, cognitive, academic,musical, and artistic skills, toys that are not strongly gender-typed are more likely to do this. • The toys rated as most likely to be educational and to develop children’s physical, cognitive, artistic, and other skills were typically categorized as neutral or moderately masculine. • We concluded that strongly gender-typed toys appear to be less supportive of optimal development than neutral or moderately gender-typed toys.
  65. 65. How should children ignore gender when they continually watch it, hear it, see it, are clothed in it, sleep in it, eat off it? • But the wiring is soft, not hard. • It is flexible, malleable. • And it will unravel.
  66. 66. Which initiatives are fighting back?
  67. 67. Let Toys Be Toys campaign is asking the toy and publishing industries to stop limiting children’s interests by promoting some toys and books as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys.
  68. 68. Even Audi Spain ad for Christmas was challenging stereotypes
  69. 69. Mattel has seen a 23% rise in sales after the company changed Barbie from an exclusivelyblond bombshell-style doll to one that represents a variety of races and body types.
  70. 70. Mattel recently paired up with the organization She Should Run to help create a president Barbie
  71. 71. Proposing gender neutral toys
  72. 72. Citizen activism is fighting back
  73. 73. New children literature is emerging
  74. 74. Feminist Heroes to Teach Kids Their ABCs in Badass New Picturebook A new illustrated children’s book from iconic City Lights press, Rad American Women A-Z, offers kids the chance to educate themselves on women’s history and the alphabet at the same time. Written by Kate Schatz and illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl, the book was inspired by Schatz’s two-year-old daughter. As the writer told Mic, the book was created to fill the “feminist-shaped hole in children's literature,” and goes from A (for Angela Davis) to Z (Zora Neale Hurston).
  75. 75. The most funded original book to be crowdfunded…
  76. 76. The world's largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls
  77. 77. We should all be feminists book is distributed to all students in Swedish highschools
  78. 78. Superheroes promote the idea that anyone can do good deeds, that hidden talents lie in us all, and that one person can make a difference.
  79. 79. Superheroes validate our sense of justice
  80. 80. In Pakistan
  81. 81. In Egypt
  82. 82. #BANBOSSY 2 Name of character What does he talk about in the movie? What subjects are important to him? What does he do in the movie? And/or what does he most want to accomplish? How would you describe him (e.g., caring, smart, powerful, interesting)? After you finish the movie, reflect on the three main male characters and answer these questions individually or as a group: Develop media literacy in your kids
  83. 83. Name of character What does she talk about in the movie? What subjects are important to her? What does she do in the movie? And/or what does she most want to accomplish? How would you describe her (e.g., caring, smart, powerful, interesting)? Now reflect on the three main female characters and answer these questions individually or as a group: #BANBOSSY 3
  84. 84. #BANBOSSY 1 Movie Night: You Be the Critic! Speak (even a single word!) Speak to a character of the same gender Talk about love or relationships Take the lead in a group Dress in fancy or revealing clothing Act aggressively or violently Add your own: Add your own: While you watch the movie, tally how many times male and female characters do the following:
  85. 85. Join us to Ban Bossy #BANBOSSY Characters I Love… My name is: My favorite character is: From the movie/show: I like this character because: My favorite character is: From the movie/show: I like this character because: My favorite character is: From the movie/show: I like this character because:
  86. 86. We are a storytelling species, and symbolic representation and visibility are crucially important to the way we structure society. • Racebending advocates for media equality across a broad spectrum of platforms and is a great resource. • The CCBC publishes a helpful guide to multicultural lit for children. • The Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media regularly shares information about media equality and First Book, a nonprofit that works to get books featuring diverse casts and cultures into the hands of children from low income families, recently launched its “Stories for All” program, which is worth wholesale emulation. • Common Sense Media also has a K-9 parents and educator toolkit that helps children understand the media they are consuming. Source: Soraya Chemaly. Huff Post
  87. 87. Recommendations for Teachers • Any materials that promote gender stereotyped play should be removed. • Nonsexist books, on the other hand, produce positive changes in self-concept, attitudes, and behavior. • Teachers are urged to critically evaluate books for gender bias. However, rather than eliminating all books with stereotypes, teachers can guide children to recognize stereotypes and increase independent critical thinking about gender and perceptions of gender.
  88. 88. Recommendations for Teachers • When planning learning experiences, teachers can challenge potential stereotypes by presenting nontraditional images and role models. • They might: – request speakers from children’s families, – feature unbiased books and materials, – give equal praise and encouragement to females in math and science and males – Critically evaluate books for gender bias.
  89. 89. SOLUTION Give your children equal chores and equal allowance. If your son and daughter take turns setting the table and taking out the trash, they’ll grow up knowing that women and men can—and should—split work evenly. Equally as important, show your kids what 50/50 looks like. Seeing parents divvy up dishes and laundry shapes children’s gender attitudes and career aspirations. 3 CHALLENGE GENDER STEREOTYPES SITUATION Kids’ beliefs about themselves and others are shaped by the world around them, and girls are often sent the wrong messages. Traditional girls’ toys focus on appearance and caretaking, while boys’ toys focus on competition and spatial skills.9 Children’s books are twice as likely to feature a male character in the lead role.10 Kids are exposed to an average of eight hours of media every day, and women are underrepresented or sexualized in much of that media.11 SOLUTION Make sure your kids play with a variety of toys so they develop a range of cognitive and social skills. Be thoughtful about what your kids read and watch, and talk openly with them about the messages the media sends about women and men. DID YOU KNOW? Of the top one hundred U.S. films in 2015, women accounted for only 33 percent of all speaking characters and only 22 percent of protagonists.12 2 LeanInTogether.Org #LeanInTogetherHOW TO BE AN ALL-STAR DAD 2 New parenting tips
  90. 90. Leadership Tips for Parents Brought to you by LeanIn.Org & Girl Scouts of the USA
  91. 91. 1. Encourage Girls and Boys Equally to Lead THE SITUATION > Parents and grandparents are crucial architects of a girl’s leadership potential. Yet as early as middle school, parents place a higher value on leadership for boys than for girls.3 THE SOLUTION > Reflect on the different messages you may be giving a daughter or son about ambition, future success, and leadership. Parents can legitimize a girl’s most ambitious dreams with acknowledgment and encouragement. Ask your daughter how she would change the world. Invite her to tell you what leadership means to her. Does she see herself as a leader? What are the ways she leads now, and in what ways would she like to lead more in the future? DID YOU KNOW? In a comprehensive study of adolescents and their families, parents of seventh graders placed greater importance on leadership for boys thanfor girls.4 The Bet hig drop 2. Be Conscious of the Way You and She Talk THE SITUATION > Girls learn early that too much confidence can get them ostracized, and you can often hear the proof in how they communicate. Many girls start sentences with apologies (“I’m not sure this is right, but…”) or turn factual sentences into questions (“Martin Luther King was a civil rights leader?”). Some cock their heads, play with their hair, or cover their mouths while speaking, using phrases like “kind of” and “sort of” to weaken their convictions. These phrases can become habits and hinder a girl’s ability to speak in a direct manner later on. THE SOLUTION > Notice how you communicate in front of your daughter or granddaughter and avoid hedging or softening your opinions with disclaimers or apologies. Be conscious of how your daughter or granddaughter speaks as well. Reach out to her teachers and coaches for feedback on how she communicates. Girls are vulnerable to perfectionism, so it can be helpful to acknowledge your own hedging words along with hers.
  92. 92. DID YOU KNOW? The wage gap starts at home: Girls get paid less than boys for household chores.7 #BANBOSSY 3. Make Your Home an Equal Household THE SITUATION > The wage gap, along with the belief that women should oversee household work, starts earlier than you think. Research shows that boys spend less time on household chores but make more money than girls. Parents often place greater value on the chores boys typically perform, like mowing the lawn, than on chores that girls usually do, like folding laundry or dishwashing.6 THE SOLUTION > Your home is a powerful classroom for your children. Do your girls do “typical girl” chores like cleaning or laundry, while boys take out the trash and mow the lawn? Switch up the assignments. If certain chores receive more allowance, distribute those chores equally. If you end up doing chores in an attempt to avoid another round of nagging, take care to ensure you’re not doing one child’s work more than another’s. 6 DID YO Girls are t as boys t leadership r them see 4. Teach Her to Respect Her Feelings THE SITUATION > Girls learn early on that being liked and avoiding conflict—even when they’re upset—can win social status and rewards. Many girls are told to “get over” their feelings or to stop being “so sensitive.” A girl’s ability to recognize and respect her feelings, and to speak up about them, is a vital ingredient to developing healthy personal authority and confidence. THE SOLUTION > Teach your daughter to respect herself by letting her know it’s okay to feel whatever it is she feels and to talk about it. She may not like all her feelings, but they’re an important part of who she is; just as we have to take care of our bodies, we also have to take care of our feelings. Show her by example: avoid denying, second-guessing, or questioning her feelings with phrases like “It’s not a big deal” or “Don’t overreact.” When she’s ready to share with others, be realistic with her about the challenges of speaking up in a world that still expects girls to be nice above all. Sometimes we have to speak up just to show we believe we should be heard, even if the result isn’t what we hoped for.
  93. 93. ACTIVITY 6. Dads and Granddads: Know Your Influence THE SITUATION > Research has shown that father figures can have a significant impact on a girl’s ability to trust, enjoy, and relate well to the boys and men in her life.10 Girls whose fathers are positively involved in their lives also tend to have higher self-esteem and be more willing to try new things.11 THE SOLUTION > Dads and granddads, be aware of the power of your words and actions! They matter. Show respect for the girls and women in your life and in hers to help her develop high expectations of other men. Speak out against cultural messages that tell her to value her physical appearance above all else. Let her know you value her for who she is inside. 5. Moms and Grandmoms: Model Assertive Behavior THE SITUATION > Girls often learn to please others at the expense of themselves. They sometimes agree to requests even though they may not want to. Later, they feel resentful. Your daughter needs you to show her how to set boundaries in relationships and that doing so won’t end them. THE SOLUTION > Try turning down a request to volunteer when you’re overloaded—and explain why to your daughter. If you do say yes and wish you hadn’t, avoid dropping hints about how you really feel by passively communicating or getting quiet or sullen. Don’t expect others to guess how you feel; speak up and say it. Let your daughter watch you move constructively through a conflict with a close friend, family member, or colleague and emerge successfully on the other side.
  94. 94. 7. Seize the Power of Organized Sports and Activities THE SITUATION > Extracurricular activities offer some of the most formative leadership training available to girls. Diverse girls come together to accomplish a common goal: they have to learn to collaborate, speak up, compromise, and even screw up, often under stress. Sports can be particularly positive for girls. A survey found that more than 80 percent of senior women executives played sports growing up.12 THE SOLUTION > Get her on a team! Developing her athletic ability is only one part of what she’s there to learn. Embrace the sports field as a classroom where your daughter will learn an invaluable set of social and psychological skills. If she is not interested in sports, help her seek out another activity where she can be part of a team. Whether it’s debate, band, or chess, there is a group out there for everyone. DID YOU KNOW? When they participate in extracurricular activities, girls gain leadership skills that stay with them for life. Encourage girls to try
  95. 95. ACTIVITY Become Movie Critics! 8. Get Media Literate—Together THE SITUATION > On average, kids consume technology and media for almost eight hours each day.14 That’s an education in and of itself. But what are girls learning? Research shows that males outnumber females by almost three to one in family films. Even more discouraging, female characters are almost four times as likely to be shown in sexy attire.15 THE SOLUTION > Take the time to ask your daughter what she’s watching and reading and why she likes it. Pick a movie or television show and ask: What kinds of messages about girls and women does it send? How are girls and women portrayed and what do they do and talk about? How are girls’ and women’s relationships portrayed? Are the relationships built on trust and caring? What do you think about what you’re seeing? Have a discussion, not a lecture. Weigh in on your concerns, but remember that she’ll take you more seriously when you can both enjoy and criticize her favorite media.
  96. 96. nbossy 9. Let Her Solve Problems on Her Own THE SITUATION > Resilience, the ability to overcome obstacles, is a cornerstone of confidence. When parents step in to solve problems, girls don’t develop the coping skills they need to handle difficult situations on their own. THE SOLUTION > When your daughter has a problem, pause and ask, “What do you want to do about it?” If she says, “I don’t know,” push her gently to consider strategies she might use to deal with the situation and then ask her about the possible outcomes. Let her decide what she wants to do (within reason). Even if you disagree with her, give her the chance to own her decision and learn a lesson if it doesn’t work out the way she wants. Your confidence in her ability to solve problems on her own will build hers! OW? ritty: ommon cessful nce.17 ACTIVITY Cultivate Her Passion Finding a passion in life—whether it’s playing the bassoon, fund-raising for a cause, or perfecting her foul shot—can fuel a girl’s drive and help her see her potential. Ask your daughter to rate her five favorite 10. Encourage Her to Step Outside Her Comfort Zone THE SITUATION > We feel braver when we prove to ourselves that we can leave our comfort zones, overcome barriers, and master challenging tasks. Many girls struggle to take risks because they worry about failing or disappointing others. THE SOLUTION > Encourage your daughter to try new things, whether it’s going to an event where she doesn’t know a lot of people or asking her to check out with a cashier at the grocery store. If she always lets her friends decide what to do on weekends, encourage her to say what she wants (you can even role-play with her first). Being brave is rarely about dramatic moments: it’s a skill acquired, little by little, over time. Let her know she doesn’t have to be perfect the first time she does something. She just has to try. DID YOU KNOW? Opportunities for leadership are everywhere. Girls learn crucial skills through everyday activities like taking care of a pet, raising money for a cause, or babysitting.18
  97. 97. Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue: How to Raise Your Kids Free of Gender Stereotypes • In this practical guide, developmental psychologist (and mother of two) Christia Spears Brown uses science-based research to show how over-dependence on gender can limit kids, making it harder for them to develop into unique individuals. • With a humorous, fresh, and accessible perspective, Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue addresses all the issues that contemporary parents should consider -- from gender-segregated birthday parties and schools to sports, sexualization, and emotional intelligence. • This guide empowers parents to help kids break out of pink and blue boxes to become their authentic selves.
  98. 98. • The goal of The Achilles Effect is to end gender limitations on boys by encouraging parents and caregivers to let boys explore the world on their own terms, without feeling that they are restricted to certain activities, attitudes, and behaviours because of their sex.
  99. 99. What can you do? • Stop using gender to label children, to sort children, and to guide purchases for children. No more “What a smart girl!” comments and boys-only birthday parties. • Correct children whenever they make a stereotypical comment, no matter how minor. Stop statements like “Boys are gross!” and “Girls can’t play basketball!,” because this type of group-based thinking is limiting. • Remember that all toys and all media are educational — they teach children how to interact with the world and help them practice the skills they will use in adulthood. Toys should foster the traits you want your child to develop, regardless of gender. • Go edit the toy closet and donate or throw away the toys that don’t reinforce positive traits and skills. • Challenge brands through campaigns and social media