Are You Raising Your Daughters To Be Princesses Or Presidents?
By : Dawn Bowman
We are quick to blame big corporations, the “boys club,” and other factors for the gender gap. When women make less than our male counterparts, we commit ourselves to changing things. But let’s be honest here… what have you personally done about the gender gap, other than voicing your hatred for it?
The Gender Gap Starts Early
Children begin understanding gender roles at just 1 1/2 years old. By the time they start preschool, they are already beginning to develop gender-based prejudices. Between the ages of 5 and 7, children’s girls-vs-boys mentality is the highest and it lasts the rest of the lives to some extent.
Causes of the Gender Gap
Although we may like to blame the media and other factors for our children’s gender-based prejudices, many causes start at home.
Gender Specific Toys – Boys use legos and building blocks for construction. They build rockets and conduct experiments with science kits. Girls play with dolls, they dress up like princesses, and create their own spa with DIY kits. Girls bake and clean with special, child-size ovens and vacuums.
Is it any wonder our boys learn to be ambitious and career-oriented while our girls have ambitions of getting married, taking care of the home, and having children?
Gender-biased Activities – We take our girls shopping and to the nail salon for mani-pedis with us. Meanwhile, our boys play video games, sports, and get dirty climbing trees. Even if we encourage our girls to try other activities, is it really surprising that they don’t want to get dirty, mess up their new dress, or break a nail playing out in the yard with the boys?
Whether we mean to our not, we’re teaching our girls to be delicate flowers who will be great decorations on the arms of men someday.
The sad truth is that we are raising our girls to be pretty and accommodating while we raise boys to be smart, strong, and competitive. For the daughters, nieces, and other young women in your life, ask yourself every day what you’ve done to close the gender gap.