Today is International Women’s Day, the 2016 theme – “Step It Up for Gender Equality.” It feels appropriate that this week we have had the privilege of giving our Mother/ Daughter Workshop to two different groups of women who were there for the same reason – to better their relationship with their daughters. In every group that we work with this same theme is present. They want to learn how to better communicate and to help their daughters learn how to navigate issues and make positive decisions throughout their adolescent and teen years and into adulthood. They are there to help their daughters believe in their voice and in themselves.
Everyday as women and mothers we see the issues that are facing our daughters and girls. Inequality, low self esteem, negativity from social media and not realizing that what they have to say can make a difference. Right now sexual assault on campuses is coming the forefront of the news although it is not a new problem. We see from the lawsuits being filed that women are finding their voice. They are realizing that is was not their fault and the person responsible should be help accountable. Going forward with our younger children, how do we prepare them to try not to be put in situations in which this can occur? And how can we help them have the courage to come forward if it does happen to them? We talk to them. We listen to them. We work to build trust with our girls and let them know that they are listened to by us and that we are there for them. We encourage a constant dialogue in which they want to share with us. That is how they will trust their voice and have that courage to know that their voice matters.
On another related issue, the lawsuit that the female sports reporter Erin Andrews filed against a stalker has made big headlines recently. She dealt with a backlash of people and reporters such as Keith Ablow who flippantly stated that Erin Andrews could have made “the same amount” of money if she “let herself be seen naked” instead of filing a lawsuit over the unauthorized video. Despite the haters, Andrews stood up and made it known that what was done to her was not okay. The court agreed with her as she won a $55 million dollar settlement. Andrews stated, “It’s proved to me how strong I am. I couldn’t pretend like it wasn’t a big deal. It was.” Yes, it was. It was a big deal for women to see Andrews stand up for herself as well as see justice and equality served.
So on International Women’s Day, as we embrace the 2016 theme, “Step It Up for Gender Equality,” (which is “a reference to the U.N.’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,’ the goals of which ‘seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls,'”) realize that an important way to propel this idea forward is through constant communication with our daughters and girls. If our children feel that they are heard then they will believe in themselves enough to know that they can do anything and be anything. If something is not right then they will stand up for themselves and not let anyone overrun their feelings, their opinions, and their beliefs. They will stand up for what is right. Our daughters can break glass ceilings if they think that they can.
—Mary & Claire
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