Thursday, April 17, 2008

'Cause I'm a Woman...

I've been doing lots of thinking about strong women, lately...inspired in part by Kelli and her passion for justice and health, inspired in part by the Girl Scouts and this fabulous study, and inspired by the book I'm reading.

Kelli is someone I admire (albeit from afar). Though we've never met, I count her among my blog buddies. She has a great blog, go check it out. Her posts last week were all focused on some element of public health, from fresh food, clean water, and reusing materials to social justice. Her reward for sharing her ideas? Some pretty ignorant comments and jingoistic attitudes. Yet, she continues to care deeply and unapologetically puts herself out there. Inspiration!

The Girl Scout Research Institute completed this great study about girls and leadership. It's very well done and well written - easy to read, even for non-statistics folks. The bottom line? "Girls, even at a very young age, have definite ideas about what it means and takes to be a leader...When asked what kind of leader they would want to be, both girls and boys express the aspiration to be someone who stands up for his or her beliefs, brings people together to get things done, and tries to change the world for the better, although girls feel these sentiments more strongly than do boys...Girls and boys rank similar reasons for leadership aspiration highly: to help other people, to help themselves be successful in life, to develop useful skills and qualities and to share their knowledge and skills with others. This is further evidenced in girls' and boys' choices of role models. No matter who the role models are—be it a family member, a historic figure, or a celebrity—what girls and boys admire and want to emulate is their commitment to fighting against injustices in society, their focus on helping others, and their determination in overcoming adversity and standing up for beliefs."

Isn't that awesome? It's so great to see research based on girls' and womens' ways of experiencing and defining the world. Maybe the "command and control" model will go out of vogue in the next couple of generations. What kind of difference will that make in the world? I can't wait to see it. I can't wait to see my nieces grow up into a world that values their styles of leadership.

I'm really digging this book on flappers. The 1920's is yet another era that my history classes didn't quite get to in school. I love reading about the New Woman. Especially with my 21st century eyes, their exploits seem so tame. Yet, they were truly shocking to their Victorian parents. It's amazing how nothing much has changed over the years. The fascination with a youth culture started in the '20s, and remains today (though it seems to keep getting younger). Women still struggle with double standards, lower wages compared to men in the same jobs, balancing work and family and fun, and loving/hating the influence of the media and consumerism. What rebels these women were! I can't imagine making such a drastic break with past culture, and living the wild lives they did. That takes courage.

There's no real point I'm trying to make here, just sharing some of what's been floating around in my head. If you're female, celebrate your woman-ness! If you're not, celebrate the women in your life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I so agree with, thus my daughters are in Girl Scouts to build the sense of leadership skills and giving back to society. It is so important to me as a mother to have my daughters know that they are and can be a positve influence and push in society. If you feel strong about something don't sit back and wait for someone to change it. Everyone of us can make change.-Jamie