Today marks International Women’s day – I’m hoping for the future of my girls that the celebration of this day pervades the press; that it is in schools and across the TV screens so that everyone knows that today we celebrate women not for their beauty, not for their physiques and not because they are a form to be ogled but because when we celebrate the strength, the skills and the powers of women it becomes achievable for the young women we are shaping to aspire to something more than the everyday stereotypes that they are exposed to on the screen and on the toyshop shelves. This morning, Mrs VFAD will leave our home to spend the day in her role leading and I will stay be home, go to singing club, watch the delayed World Book Day parade – we challenge the usual expectation of what a man and woman’s role in the home should be or at least what it was in the 50s!
We have spent time cramming the books shelves with texts that allowed our girls to see that there are jobs that they can aspire to which don’t involve carrying a wand or marrying a prince but much to my wife’s frustration the pink always wins over the blue for at least one of our girls. The other actually prefers to be a pirate ‘ahah!’ What’s clear is that we can’t force choices; we can’t make anyone be less girly than they want to be. In fact our eldest has even said the words ‘that’s too boyish mommy. I don’t want to wear that’. Ironically, the t-shirt she was being cajoled into wearing had ‘Girl’ emblazoned on the front. Mrs VFAD grimaced and grabbed something else from the wardrobe. I don’t want you thinking that we are deliberately steering clear of opportunities for either girl to explore role play that would lead them to traditional roles or even to avoid the pink things but we do actively celebrate the fact that being strong, confident, happy with ourselves, a good friend, able to do things that we set our mind to and, well, anything that we want to be is possible.
I have hopes for my girls. I hope that there is no ceiling that they have to smash; that there aren’t blockers that are insurmountable with some determination and self-belief but most of all I hope that I’m not the only dad hoping for these things because if I am, we’re doing our girls an injustice. We shouldn’t shape their future with a stunted version of what they can be informed by our own experiences but instead we should work to allow them to shape their own futures to be full of whatever they want them to be whether that be pink, blue, purple, green whatever- let them be they want to be. Girls Rule or at least they do here at VFAD HQ!