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TEACH GIRLS BRAVERY, NOT PERFECTION

What Reshma Saujani's TED Talk meant to me.

As parents, we are mindful of what we say to—and in front of—our children. This is especially true when it comes to what we say in order to encourage and empower our children. I try to be extra mindful when I tell my 6-year-old daughter that she is beautiful. I never forget to mention that she is also smart, brave, and wonderful.

Kids notice everything. They are attentive to the skinny models in the magazines and while there’s nothing wrong with being skinny, I don’t want my beautiful, biracial daughter to think that is the only thing she should strive to be. I want her to see unique and curvy women like Ashley Graham and Tess Holliday. I want her to see women who are confident in their bodies and love each one of their imperfections. We must to teach our daughters that kind of self-love, too.

 

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These six years of my daughter’s life have given me the most amazing opportunities to encourage her when she is scared, support her when she feels as though she is not capable of something, and make sure her own self-doubt does not stop her from achieving anything. I tell her all the time, “you can do anything and you can be anything you want to be.”

A TED Talk that I recently saw perfectly ties into the way I raise my daughter. The talk was by Reshma Saujani, who is the founder of Girls Who Code. In her talk titled, Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection, she explained what that meant exactly.

She began her talk by sharing her experience of running for Congress when she was just 33 years old. “It was the first time in my entire life that I had done something that was truly brave, where I didn’t worry about being perfect,” she said. Being taught to be perfect her whole life, she was not equip with the bravery that the men around her had. 

“WE’RE RAISING OUR GIRLS TO BE PERFECT AND WE’RE RAISING OUR BOYS TO BE BRAVE.”

“An HP report found that men will apply for a job if they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications, but women, women will apply only if they meet 100 percent of the qualifications.”

I can admit that I have done that too, in regards to applying for jobs. I will only apply to something that I know I’m 100% qualified for. I feel like if I don’t meet all the needs, then I shouldn’t apply. Maybe I, too, can take something from this talk for myself. 🤔

Remember I said earlier she created the Girls Who Code program? Here is a story that she has from that program. 

“We immediately see in our program our girls’ fear of not getting it right, of not being perfect. Every Girls Who Code teacher tells me the same story. During the first week, when the girls are learning how to code, a student will call her over and she’ll say, “I don’t know what code to write.” The teacher will look at her screen, and she’ll see a blank text editor. If she didn’t know any better, she’d think that her student spent the past 20 minutes just staring at the screen. But if she presses undo a few times, she’ll see that her student wrote code and then deleted it. She tried, she came close, but she didn’t get it exactly right. Instead of showing the progress that she made, she’d rather show nothing at all. Perfection or bust.”

That’s saddening. 😢 Below is even worse.

“My friend Lev Brie, who is a professor at the University of Columbia and teaches intro to Java tells me about his office hours with computer science students. When the guys are struggling with an assignment, they’ll come in and they’ll say, “Professor, there’s something wrong with my code.” The girls will come in and say, “Professor, there’s something wrong with me.””

 These last few quotes have me like, Yasss Queen! 🙌

“When we teach girls to be brave and we have a supportive network cheering them on, they will build incredible things, and I see this every day.”

“We have to socialize our girls to be comfortable with imperfection, and we’ve got to do it now. We cannot wait for them to learn how to be brave like I did when I was 33 years old.”

“…and we have to show them that they will be loved and accepted not for being perfect but for being courageous.”

After the talk, she gave an interview where she shared this:

“…it’s crazy to me to think about the fact that right now, 85 percent of all consumer purchases are made by women. Women use social media at a rate of 600 percent more than men. We own the internet, and we should be building the companies of tomorrow. And I think when companies have diverse teams, and they have incredible women that are part of their engineering teams, they build awesome things, and we see it every day.”

Can we get a hell yeah, vinas?! If you want to watch the whole TED Talk, (which I highly encourage you to!), click here.

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