How to Raise a Strong & Confident Daughter in 2021
It is extremely important that you learn how to raise a strong daughter in 2021 and beyond. The women’s rights movement began in 1848 with 100 participants at a women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls. Since that time, women have secured the right to vote, the right to make their own reproductive decisions, and the right to fight against sexual discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
More recently, Kamala Harris became the first woman to be elected Vice President of the United States. She also happens to be a woman of color, the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father. In her victory speech, Harris said, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
And for a moment, it felt as though equality may have finally been achieved.
But women still face less pay for doing the same work as men, less autonomy over their own bodies, and even in the current #MeToo era, they face a greater risk of being discriminated against, harassed, or assaulted purely because they are women.
It often seems as though we are on the precipice of great change. But change happens slowly, and mothers raising daughters today are still painfully aware of the dangers and hurdles that exist for women in the world they will one day be sending those daughters out into.
That’s why it’s important to teach our daughters about how far women have come, and how far we still have to go, so here are a few ways on how to raise a strong daughter.
Read to Them
Books can be a gateway to the past and an opportunity to engage our daughters in conversations about the strong women we hope they may one day emulate. Chelsea Clinton’s She Persisted and Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli’s Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls are children’s books designed to help our daughters understand the challenges women have faced throughout history while also focusing on the ways women have used their voices to fight for themselves and others. These books are educational, empowering, and must-reads for the next generation of feminists which makes them a great tool on how to raise a strong daughter.
Get Them Engaged
Now is the time to teach our daughter’s how to use their voices by showing them how we use ours. When you vote, bring your daughters with you. Talk to them about the choices you’re making and why. Point out the women on the ballot, like Harris, poised to make a difference. Ask them about who they would vote for if they could and encourage them to continue thinking critically about those choices. Bring them along with you to rallies and marches. Allow them to witness firsthand what it looks like when women come together with a shared passion and fight for the change we all deserve.
Build Them Up
Encourage your daughters to explore and chase their passions. Allow them to be themselves and to go after their dreams. Praise their successes and lift them back up after their failures. In doing this, you can instill the fight in them, teaching them that what they want, what they care about, what they strive for—it all matters. And with enough hard work and perseverance, it’s all within their reach. When we raise confident girls, they eventually become confident women who can go out into the world and continue changing it.
Teach Them to Fight
The world is evolving but not quickly enough. Girls and women are still susceptible to violence, harassment, and discrimination at every turn. That’s why it’s essential to teach our girls how to wield their power and fight back. Enroll your daughters in martial arts classes and self-defense workshops. Encourage them to join speech and debate, student government, or other clubs that might help them find the power in their voice. Give them the tools to defend themselves when needed—both verbally and physically.
Show Them How to Love
True champions of women’s rights are also champions of human rights. We should be raising daughters who fight for women and fight for members of the LGBTQ+ community, minorities, immigrants, and anyone else whose voice might be unheard. There is no equality until we are all equal. Let’s teach our daughters to be allies and to love just as hard as they fight.
Our daughters need to know the history so that they can be part of ensuring we don’t ever go backwards. And they need to be given role models and taught to use their strength so they can be a part of continuing to push us forward.
*Editor’s Note: This post was previously published but has recently been updated.