Every year, March 8th is set aside to honor women, girls, and their limitless potential on International Women’s Day. This global day of celebration has been in existence since the early 20th century. It seeks to bring awareness to various causes related to gender equality and women’s rights. International Womens Day is a great way to honor women who have broken bias and allowed us all to have more freedom. It is also a great way to empower young girls and inspire them in breaking barriers to their own success.
Today I am excited to have Ramita Anand share a guest post with us for International Women’s Day. She is the founder of the educational mentorship program Elevate.RA. She is also the author a new book, Girl Elevated, (my affiliate link is below). This book is the culmination of more than 15 years of work in education and special learning support. She aims to break the cycle of self-doubt and insecurity that hinders girls both personally and academically.
What Does International Womens Day Mean To You?
by Ramita Anand
For the first several decades of its existence, International Women’s Day was celebrated differently in many countries. In 1977, the United Nations adopted it to help turn it into a mainstream global holiday. For the last several years, the organizers have created a yearly theme to help focus advocacy, policy, and charity work. This theme helps create a shared focus or topic that celebrants can rally behind. This is essential since the lives and experiences of women and girls are so different depending on where they live in the world.
This year, the theme of International Women’s Day is breaking biases, and imagining a gender-equal world free of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. For many girls, these biases come into their consciousness when they’re young and color their behavior for the rest of their life. Research has shown that many of our most influential biases are already in place before elementary school. Fortunately, they can be unlearned.
Helping Our Daughters Unlearn Gender Bias
In honor of this year’s International Women’s Day, let’s talk about the biases that most affect our daughters. Let’s take a look at how we can empower them to fight against the stereotypes and labels that so often get in the way of their success.
One of the biases that I’m so passionate about overturning is that a learning difference or challenge means that a girl cannot succeed in formal education. Even though girls are equally likely to be diagnosed with a learning disability like ADHD or dyslexia, they are less likely to receive specialized treatment under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). It was recently revealed that 18% of male students received special services under IDEA. However, only 10% of female students receive the same.
As a parent, you can be your daughter’s advocate to help her get the services she needs. Additionally, there are many programs and tools designed to help girls access their strengths and navigate any anxieties they have around their education.
4 Ways to Help Empower Young Girls To Break The Barriers
There are lots of forces out there in the world trying to tell our daughters that they are less intelligent and less capable than their peers, especially if those peers are male.
Many parents struggle to understand how to empower young girls to break down barriers and stereotypes that are unjust. Today, I’ll share some of my best suggestions for ways to empower your daughter and help her thrive, especially if she’s dealing with a learning difference.
Be an advocate
Many times, girls with learning disabilities don’t find out until later in life because the diagnosing criteria are based on more noticeable symptoms exhibited by boys. If you suspect that your child is having a difficult time and may be struggling with a learning disability, be their advocate until they can get the appropriate help.
Involve your child in decision-making as early as possible
A great way to help your daughter feel more empowered to tackle her studies despite her learning difference is to get her involved in the decision-making process as early as possible. Explain to her the benefits of specific actions, and show her how they can help. This will help her feel more in control of her own academic future.
Keep lines of communication open
Encouraging your daughter to share her thoughts and feelings with you on a regular basis will help her develop much-needed emotional intelligence. As you learn more about her day-to-day life and how she is handling her learning disability, it will help you better advocate for their needs.
Our kids take many of their cues from us, especially in the early years. If they can see you being positive and forward-thinking instead of giving in to frustration, it will help them model these behaviors in their own life.
This International Women’s Day, take the time to reflect on how you can embody the themes of this year. Use them to help your daughter embrace her power.
Thanks again to Ramita Anand, founder of Elevate.RA, an educational mentoring service. I hope you found her message to be an inspiration. It is so important to support girls in breaking barriers that are unfair and hinder their success. Low self-esteem and a lack of confidence disproportionately affect our girls. Therefore, I really appreciate her tips for fighting against this common problem.
I am thankful for all the women who fought to the break the barriers that stood in our way and provide women with equal rights. What does international women’s day mean to you?