Why it’s important to empower girls now more than ever
Creating spaces and an environment where young girls can prosper, believe in themselves, feel heard and be seen has never been more important than now. A few decades ago, seeing a woman become a scientist or an engineer was near impossible.
But today, there are more college-educated women than men in the United States, according to research by Pew Research center.
Seeing women such as former Liberia President, Ellen Johnson, Sirleaf and the current president of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde, take up leadership positions, also shows the progress in women empowerment.
However, while there’s been significant progress made, there’s still so much to be done in changing the status quo. Schools play an important role in empowering girls to be the best version of themselves and our schools’ team share tips on how you can empower your girl child.
LET THEM KNOW THEY HAVE A VOICE
It is important to teach girls that their voice matters and that there is great power in speaking out. Letting your child know that their opinion is valued, shows that you see them as a parent and someone who adds value.
School Operations Manager at SPARK Lynedoch, Laaika Moosa, shares how SPARK Schools empowers girls to have a voice.
“We provide a voice for young girls to speak up through our Core Values and a strong focus on Socio-emotional learning,” Laaika says.
THEY SHOULD NOT BE AFRAID TO TAKE UP LEADERSHIP
In her speech that won her the coveted Miss Universe title, Zozibini Tunzi said one of the most important things we should be teaching young girls is leadership. Speaking about leadership Tunzi said leadership in young girls has been lacking and this is due to how society tells women to be.
“I think we are the most powerful beings in the world and that we should be given every opportunity, and is what we should be teaching these young girls —to take up space in society,” Miss Universe said.
Moosa agrees that young girls should aspire to become leaders.
“It’s great to be a part of a company that values women in leadership. At SPARK the majority of leaders are female–this sets a great example for young girls to aspire to lead which becomes a norm and sets the tone for the future,” she says.
SELF LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE
We must teach our girls that loving your self is the most important gift you can give yourself and embrace themselves as they are.
SPARK Soweto Principal Gundo Mmbi, says girls need to know the importance of acceptance.
“I believe that it is important for young women to have a positive attitude towards their physical appearance by embracing their unique individualism while celebrating their differences,” Mmbi says.
THEIR DREAMS ARE VALID
SPARK Ferndale Principal Alliah Halifa believes that it’s important for girls to know their power.
“We believe that there are many male-dominated industries in society. We need to ensure that our girls know their worth and strength from a young age. Thus when they grow up they can have empowered mindsets, know and believe that they can achieve great things and nothing is limited based on their gender,” Halifa says.
USE EMPOWERING LANGUAGE
Words are so powerful, as they can be used to empower or destroy someone. Halifa says we should use an empowering language when we speak to our girls.
“The language used at home should be motivating and encouraging at all times and girls should not be treated differently to boys at home, eg. boys can learn to cook at home,” she says.
To Support other women
We have to teach girls to have a positive attitude towards other women. Girls need to learn to encourage one another, to lift each other up and know that when they work as a collective, they can achieve so much more.
“Young Women need to have a positive attitude towards fellow young women, It is for a greater good to have so that they know and understand what we mean by ‘Wathint‘ Abafazi, Wathint‘ Imbokodo‘ and that there is greater power in the collective,” says Mmbi.