Empowering girls

5 Ways to Nurture Leadership in Kids

Girls smilingEvery child is a potential leader. Even if they weren’t “born” leaders, they may be taught to become them by parents, teachers and other role models.

Leaders are people who have the ability to empower others to get things done. They inspire other people and set the directions to create something new. It isn’t about being at the top of a hierarchy, but about forging a path forward in collaboration with others.

So what personal qualities and skills could make your kid a great leader? There isn’t an exact answer. It all depends on personality and surroundings. For instance, some children are more confident than others, but that doesn’t make them a leader. As a parent, you play a huge part in helping your child develop the ability to lead.

Girls, Let's Fail Together

Parents walking with child

This article was originally published on Puzzling Posts.

We went on a family vacation late last year. It was a wonderful family experience where the girls got to play in the ocean, watch monkeys swing through trees, and learn that there are more places on earth than Ottawa.

And yes, we pulled our oldest daughter from school for the week to make this happen. Away from math classes, away from science projects, and away from whatever style of dodgeball teachers are able to get 6-year-olds to participate in.

10 Inspirational Messages to Girls in Canada

Girl smilingIt’s an unfortunate fact: Every single day, girls in Canada are exposed to thousands of media messages telling them how to look, think, and feel.

The impact of this on girls’ well-being is serious: We know that through constant exposure to sexualized imagery, women and girls learn that their primary value comes from their physical appearance.

We also know that when girls are socialized to obsessively focus on their appearance, they pay a steep price.

All this made us wonder: What would happen if girls were in the position to create the messages they see?

This message is brought to you by #GirlPowered!

Girl Powered Girl Council choose their favourite girlpowered messagesThe girl council has spoken!

A cross-Canadian group of girls has shortlisted the most powerful messages from the 1,500 submitted to girlpowered.ca. But, given the sheer volume and awesomeness of the submissions, it wasn’t an easy task.

“How am I going to pick?” asked Brenna, 12, as she and her fellow council members began poring over pages of messages, including “Follow your dreams, even the wild ones” and “Be the girl you look up to.”

Say No to Pretty Doormats

Mother and daughter smilingThis post was originally published on LinkedIn.

Recently my 18-year-old daughter asked me, with great trepidation, if I thought she had “too much to say and an opinion about everything.” I laughed. There is no doubt that my daughter has a lot to say. And though I could see she was unsure of herself - we couldn’t be happier that she has a mind of her own. Well, most of the time. 

Kim is smart, articulate and confident. She has learned, as she’s grown, to make room for the opinions and input of others. She’s learned that there is more than one right answer. She knows she isn’t always right – but she’ll certainly put in a good volley. She’s learned, despite the fact that many will try to quiet her voice, that speaking up is an act of leadership.

Want to See More Girls in STEM? Do Away with Gender Stereotypes

Girl studying scienceAt the end of this academic year, graduates’ names will be called in alphabetical order as they waltz across a stage. They will shake hands with a university dean, move the tassel on their cap from one side to the other, and pose for their parents’ cameras.

For decades, graduation ceremonies have been carried out in relatively the same way. But one significant change has occurred. The proportion of women graduates now surpasses that of men. According to 2012 data, 58% of all post-secondary graduates are women.

New Inspiration for a New Year

Darlene smilingPsst! It’s contagious! And we’re not talking about this season’s strain of the flu.

We’re talking about inspiration, which we can all do our part to spread by sharing positive stories, ideas or experiences that might help others in their own lives.

Inspiration is just what we need at this time of year, when we’re envisioning fresh starts, new challenges, and resolutions (that we’ll actually stick to!). So today, we’re sharing two stories that inspired us in the past year and asking you to share what, or who, motivates you!

4 Tips For Self-Care

Women sitting in cafeDid you come back from the holidays feeling like it wasn’t exactly a holiday?

Are you back at work, staring blankly at a mountain of emails in your inbox, realizing that you never actually had time to put your feet up amid the whirlwind of travel plans, family gatherings, and last-minute-gift dashes?

If your own needs tend to fall off of your to-do list, now is a great time to think about self-care. And it’s not about spending hundreds of dollars at a spa or committing to daily meditation—it’s just about setting aside pockets of time for activities that help you unwind and reset.

Food for Thought: It’s Time to End Body Shaming

Woman looking awayI never forgot when my aunt stood up and berated my mother in front of a table full of family and friends for allowing me to have, “one more piece of meat” during a holiday meal.  Funnily, most kids can’t wait to sit at the ‘adult table.’ It’s a right of passage I suppose. But for me, being a kid with the adults simply meant more eyes, more potential pot shots under the guise of concern, tough love and reminders to sit up straight.  Sure, the latter had health benefits I’d appreciate later in life but the rest? Body shaming.  

Last month, a Mall Santa in the town of Forrest City, North Carolina, resigned after fat-shaming a boy who visited him. “Lay off the hamburgers and French fries,” said Santa to Anthony Mayse, a 9-year-old boy who had merely asked Santa for an iPod Touch and Drone. He left Santa’s lap in tears. 

6 Ways to Raise Confident Girls: Tips from Canadian Women’s Foundation Parents

Girl having fun swinging in the air

This is the fourth post in our  Confidence Stories  series in partnership with Always®. Confidence Stories features stories, tips and ideas for supporting girls and building confidence.

At the Canadian Women’s Foundation, we want every girl to believe in herself and realize she matters. Every day we work to better understand the challenges that girls face and invest in the programs that help girls move into adolescence with confidence.

My work at the Canadian Women’s Foundation gives me a unique advantage as the parent of a 5-year-old girl: I have the ultimate guide to raising girls right at my fingertips! I know that the evidence-based approach to investing in girls’ programs WORKS. I’ve seen the impacts in the research, in the Foundation’s results, and in my daughter.