2 Ways to Empower Girls and Raise Future Female Leaders

Sacha Strebe

Raising children certainly has its challenges, especially when you're preparing the next generation for a future we haven't been to yet. But there are some values you can instill in your children now to prepare them, and it starts with gender equality. New research from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and its Making Caring Common project found that teen boys, teen girls, and even parents "have biases against girls and women as leaders."

Harvard psychologist and project head Richard Weissbourd looked into how much bias plays a part in how children learn to be kind, and he was “surprised by the extent of it… how gendered both the boys’ and the girls’ responses were.” Reportedly 23% of girls and 40% of boys preferred male political leaders instead of female; 8% of girls and 4% of boys preferred female political leaders; and 36% of boys preferred male business leaders to female. Bias “can be a powerful—and invisible—barrier to teen girls’ leadership,” Weissbourd told The Washington Post. So what can we do as parents to instill gender equality and raise daughters to be strong leaders? Scroll down to find out.

Be Aware of Your Own Bias

Gender biases is an unfortunate part of our society; we all carry them to some extent. While they become ingrained very quickly, they can be difficult to get rid of, but you can make yourself aware of them. Don't jump to conclusions and make assumptions on how boys and girls should dress, act, think, or feel. Then look at how your bias might impact certain attitudes or actions you take, and the language you use. It's important to pay attention to your behaviors, and think about how they may be prone to bias. 

Create a "Bias-Free" Home

Gender bias starts young, kids pick up on the difference between boys and girls early on, and it's important you broaden that understanding from the start. You can develop family habits and routines that include your children and allow them to ask uncomfortable questions. Ensure your home environment is open, honest, and candid. You can even start the conversation, ask your children about home responsibilities, about what's fair and who does what. Just be willing to follow through with them after the discussion has taken place. 

To read three more ways for parents to prevent gender bias, visit The Washington Post.

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What do you do at home to raise children without gender bias? Share in the comments.

Opening photo: Carine Thevenau for The Grace Tales

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