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How can I dispel female stereotypes for my daughter?

Michele Borba
Psychology
It is crucial that we catch a stereotype (i.e. “Women can’t be leaders …”) before it becomes an ingrained belief, locks in doubts, and derails a girl’s confidence for a lifetime.

One way to dispel a stereotype is by starting a family rule: “Any time a family member says a sweeping generality such as ‘Girls can’t …’ or ‘No woman ever …’ say: “Check that!” The sayer must then give evidence to counter the view.

For instance, if your daughter says: “Women can’t be leaders.”

You say: “Check that! Let’s think of women who are! What about….” And then give her an example of a strong woman leader who counters that stereotype.

Here are a few female leaders -- past and present -- to get you started (and keep adding to the list):
  • Queen Elizabeth II of England
  • President Pratibha Patil of India
  • Queen Margret the 2 of Denmark
  • President Mary McAleese of Ireland
  • Governor-General Hon. Dr. Dame C. Pearlette Louisy of St. Lucia
  • President Cristina E. Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina
  • President Tarja Halonen of Finland
  • President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of The Philippines
  • President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia
  • Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.