Around the world, the march toward gender equality is making great strides. More and more people are talking about promoting and embracing equality among people of all gender identities. However, there’s a long way to go between that sentiment and achieving true equality in real life.
The good news is that the number of women, and even young girls, that are feeling motivated to create real change and run for public office continues to substantially increase. If your daughter shows an interest in public policy, it may help to explore whether she has a desire to change the system from within.
Politics is a difficult path to take. There’s a delicate balance involved when encouraging your daughter while educating her on the difficulties she will face in creating change.
Here’s what you need to know about starting that conversation:
The Global Gender Gap
Women make up half the population but are often underrepresented in global leadership and politics. Powerful women like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg show how effective female leadership can be. Despite that, gender gap still persists.
In the United States, only 4.8% of CEOs were women in 2018. 1 in 4 U.S. senators are women as of 2019, but there are still far fewer women in U.S. and global politics than men.
We need more determined women to close that gender gap and build better representation for our citizens. If your daughter is interested in making a meaningful change in politics, you should point to successful female leaders who have met and pushed past the challenges of the glass ceiling.
Supporting the Cause
As a parent of a daughter who wants to make a difference, it’s important to find out what you can do to help support the cause of closing the gender gap and advocating for women’s rights together.
There are lots of ways kids and parents can get involved, from writing to legislators to raising money for foundations that boost women in politics and business and speaking up about women’s rights. Your daughter can support the cause and start to learn more about what it takes to create lasting, systemic change.
Getting involved will also keep the conversation going and help you discuss all facets of embarking on a political career. You can encourage your daughter’s interest while drawing attention to the challenges that may come up.
Changing the System From Within
Women represent nearly 50% of the United States workforce. They deserve fair government representation, but they’ve never gotten that equal representation in our country’s history. Fair representation is only possible when women hold a percentage legislative of seats that reflect the fabric of society.
See Also: Helping Women Succeed In The Workplace
Globally, the number of women in government has been increasing—up from 11.8% in 1998 to 23.5% in 2018. However, the percentage is still too low to really represent women’s voices. Not only does this rob women of opportunity and a voice in government, but it also deprives the country of women’s insights and untapped potential.
Women in politics have the opportunity to change the system from within, which is really the only way to move the goal of gender equality forward in a meaningful way.
Girls and women who want to contribute to change can really make a difference by campaigning and getting elected to local, state, and national governments. We need women weighing in on legislation that will affect the rights of people in their communities and the country as a whole. Only then can we hope to achieve true equality.
Testing the Waters
Politics can be nasty and grueling. It can be tough to think about your daughter being criticized by the opposition or even put in danger. However, it’s important to think about where your daughter’s skills and passions lie. Consider the difference she might be able to make in our world.
It’s a good idea to test the waters first and find out if your daughter is really motivated to move forward with a career in politics or if it’s just a passing interest. Talk to your daughter about political issues. Let her share her opinions and invite her to ask questions.
Learn together about ways you can contribute to positive change. Point to activists like Greta Thunberg who started taking action from a young age. Role models are very important for girls who want to make a difference. Getting involved in student government or Model United Nations is also a great way to test the waters.
Where to Begin
If you want to help your daughter pursue her dreams of getting into politics, start getting involved with the conversation. Social media, local events, and other forums offer opportunities to show support and learn from others. A political career can be tough, but the first steps are simple: raise your voice and join the conversation.