It is a call for current #businesswomen, female #leaders, conscious mothers, aunts, grandmothers and teachers. Together we can encourage the next generation of female leaders. Girls often look to the women in their lives for cues about how to think and act. THERE ARE COUNTLESS OPPORTUNITIES EVERY DAY TO HELP GIRLS GAIN THE CONFIDENCE AND SKILLS THEY NEED TO LEAN IN AND TAKE THE LEAD.
And if you are responsible fathers, uncles and grandpas, please be aware and share this information. Thank You.
Coach a Girl to SPEAK CONFIDENTLY
Girls can undermine themselves when they speak. Many girls use phrases like “kind of” and “sort of” to weaken their statements. Some introduce opinions with disclaimers (“I’m not sure if this is right, but . . .”) or use upspeak so their statements sound like questions. These verbal crutches hinder a girl’s ability to share her ideas clearly and confidently—a habit that often carries over into adulthood.
Did You Know? The confidence gap starts young: between elementary school and high school, girls’ self-esteem drops 3.5 times more than boys’.
Hence speak with confidence so girls hear what it sounds like. Avoid hedging your opinions with disclaimers or apologies. If you observe a girl falling into these same habits, explain how it undermines the point she’s trying to make. Remind her it’s not just what you say that matters, it’s how you say it, too.
Encourage a Girl to OWN HER SUCCESS
When girls are confident in their abilities, they are more likely to take the lead. The problem is that girls are often underestimated by others—and underestimate themselves—which erodes their confidence. When girls are complimented on their achievements, they also tend to deflect praise or minimize their accomplishments, yet internalizing success is an important part of building self-confidence.
Studies said, that women often get less credit for successes and can be blamed more for failures. We also tend to underestimate our own abilities and attribute our success to external factors such as “getting lucky” or “help from others.”
Model owning your accomplishments for the girls in your life. Say “thank you” when you receive a compliment instead of deflecting it. When girls see that it is okay to own their success, they will feel more comfortable doing it themselves. Moreover, look for opportunities to celebrate girls’ success and acknowledge their strengths, and push back if they fall into the trap of sidestepping praise.
Inspire a Girl to STEP OUT OF HER COMFORT ZONE
Because girls often struggle with confidence and fear making mistakes, they are less likely to take risks. Some girls don’t speak up in class unless they’re 100% sure they have the right answer, while others shy away from trying new subjects or activities. This same reluctance also holds women back.
Create a model taking healthy risks. Talk about the times you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone, and explain how good it feels when you succeed and how much you learn when you don’t. When you hear girls say they’re “not ready” or “can’t do it,” gently push back and remind them it’s an opportunity to learn and grow. Make sure girls know that being brave is rarely about dramatic moments: it’s a skill acquired, step by step over time.
Teach a Girl to NAVIGATE CONFLICT
Girls are often taught to suppress their feelings in order to get along with others. As a result, they do not learn to speak openly and manage conflict. Too often women avoid giving each other honest input to avoid being seen as unkind.
Model honest, direct communication for the girls in your life. When faced with a difficult situation, talk to the people involved—not about them—and share your true feelings. Encourage girls to speak their mind and avoid social shortcuts like texting and social media. Explain that conflict is an inevitable part of relationships—it’s the way we handle it that matters.
Celebrate FEMALE LEADERSHIP
Girls and boys get very different messages about leadership. We expect boys to lead, so we applaud them when they do. On the other hand, we expect girls to be kind and communal, so when they speak their mind or take the lead, they often face pushback. As a result, girls often worry they’ll make people mad or be laughed at if they assume a leadership position.
Talk openly about your own experiences taking the lead and celebrate female leaders in your life and in the news.
If you hear a girl being criticized for asserting herself or referred to as “bossy” or “aggressive,” step in and explain she should be applauded, not chided, for her leadership skills.
Finally, make sure girls understand the benefits of being a leader, like having a voice and making things happen!