Recently, I ran across this headline in my Facebook news feed:
You can read the full article here.
The idea that adults were commenting on her site, suggesting that she was better suited to dolls and tea parties made me bristle. It reminded me of my eldest daughter, who was told by other teenagers, “You read too much, boys won’t like you if you are smart.”
Thankfully she didn’t listen.
It was a great reminder that I need to resurrect some women’s studies, and at nine, it certainly is not too soon. When I removed Dee from public school and began to homeschool her, I asked her, “What do you want to study?”
She wanted to learn about a great many things – including women’s history. A Mighty Girl is a website aimed at all “mighty girls” from birth through adulthood. I paged through the site the other day, dreams of lesson plans dancing in my head.
Aside from Marie Curie, Jane Goodall, and Susan B. Anthony, I honestly had not heard of most of the women movers and shakers. The list 15 Women Scientists You should Know talked about women I had never heard of.
I’m not going to jump up on a soapbox and rant about how the only history is men’s history. It isn’t. But teaching women’s history is important, especially for young girls and women. We need to hear about these trailblazers, these women who followed their hearts and dreams without bowing to conventional roles or culturally enforced expectations. We need to know how far we have come, and how far we have yet to go.
A year ago, possibly two, Em said to me, “When I grow up and get married, I want my husband to be President of the United States.” When I asked why she didn’t want to be president she looked at me and said, “They have women presidents?”
And no, I won’t be voting for HRC, although I’m tempted, if only to show Em that yes, women can be presidents. Instead, I pointed out that in more enlightened countries women have been serving as presidents, queens, and prime ministers for decades. I also added that, the United States is on the cusp of it, pointing out that Barack Obama is the first African-American president we have had – a huge sign of progress.
As the mother of two daughters, I would rather have curious, brave, challenging girls who get messy, argue, and explore – rather than meek, mild, well-behaved ones. After all…