Today, on International Women's Day, I wanted to share the five lessons I am teaching my children about the power of the girl. This is, in part, my letter to them and I hope that what I've said here is felt by them in what I do in the everyday of our life together.
1. You’re more than ‘just’ a girl.
In life there will exist the boundaries of expectations. Do not let them cage you or define you. Break them and show them what it means to be a girl.
You may, as you get older, hear the following lines 'She can't run; she's a girl.' 'Don't ask her; she's a girl,' 'She won't know the answer; she's a girl.' It's a phrase that's so often used as a punctuation point of false proof to a statement steaming in underestimation.
Being a girl has been underestimated for centuries, it's a term that's been associated with so many lesser opinions. But you and I know different. Being a girl is our strength, our power, and our perseverance; you own the fact that you're a girl and you go and show them just how good you are.
2. Never be afraid to be smart.
There will be times in your life where you will be asked to shine a little less brightly. The reason this will be asked of you is to save the ego of others. Don't ever be afraid to show just how capable and intelligent you are.
It was Emma Watson who first said that ‘girls should never be afraid to be smart’ and it is by far and away one of my most favourite rules to live by. It extends beyond raising your arm in class, performing well in exams, speaking out in meetings, pitching yourself in job interviews and at promotions and life opportunities in general. It's about really and truly understanding the intent behind being asked to not perform to your best. There is nothing about such an ask that can be used to boost you; it's all for the purpose of keeping you constrained within the boundaries and limits of which the request sets. If anyone makes you feel that you can't truly show your potential now, believe you me, they will continue to make you feel like that as you grow up.
To protect your own self-worth and validity, never be afraid to be smart.
3. Life is tough but so are you.
Life will lay out obstacles and hurdles. This doesn't mean you're not doing it right; it is as many people before me have said, a fact of it.
You may face experiences and actions that make you feel like crumbling, that test you, that have you waking in the middle of the night. We will all go through things that make us feel like breaking, it’s important to understand that they make up the patchwork of you, but they do not define you.
It’s how you stand after those events that truly defines who you are and the strength that you have.
4.You are never, ever, alone.
There are so many of us who value and cherish you, who see the incredible force that is YOU. We are here to support, to hold, to cheer-lead and to fight with you. There is only one rule; you must understand that talking and asking and being open is incredibly powerful. Find others who view the world similarly to yourself, as well as others who challenge any echo-chamber you may well have found yourself in. Find people who make you feel stronger and bolder and happier. Surround yourself with these people, share your opinions with them because they will encourage that voice of yours to get stronger each and every day.
5. Remember this always.
You are The Club.