Young Women Leaders Program:
The Suppression of Power
Scientifically speaking, a girl’s self-esteem plummets during puberty—She starts worrying about body image and her ability to impress the gender to which she is attracted and begins to think less of herself and her capabilities. In a perfect world, society would recognize this inevitable drop and support young women in ways to help bring back their confidence. This would, of course, be ideal considering the numerous positive changes and contributions women can make to societies when recognized as not only capable enough, but able to thrive in leadership roles—However, this is not the case. Not even close. Instead, the influence of modern day media and culture severely derides this already wary confidence until breaking points, in some cases. The highly advertised images of women models with supposedly “perfect bodies” metaphorically screams into girl’s ears that it is more important to be superficially beautiful than to be smart or headstrong or athletic or capable at living a life rich with leadership and endless opportunity. This culture we live in doesn’t tell girls they can do whatever they put their minds to because they’re more than a face and a body. Instead, it follows the stereotype that it is a “good woman’s” duty to be in the kitchen, cleaning, raising kids, in the bedroom, and staying quiet. How can a girl feel the support she needs to thrive when these are her expectations? How can society thrive to the bare minimum of its full potential when half of its people are held back and bound to these stereotypes? The first steps to a world with real gender equality starts with giving girls the self-confidence to fully contribute and lead throughout their lives. This starts with teaching girls that they should love what they look like and not put their self worth in the hands of a perfect body criteria; we need to teach them that what they are inside is far more important than what is outside; and encourage them to do whatever they please when they grow up because they can. Society has to change their views that feminine qualities are less important and something to ridicule. Feminine qualities include essential characteristics to a healthy, well functioning society. Caring, nurturing, empathetic, inclusive, and kind. These are all characteristics associated with women, and a society that reflects that women are lesser than men, reflects the same for these characteristics. Imagine the prosperity of a world in which half it’s leaders were women—Where these characteristics were implemented into society. Taken from the press release announcing the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women:
“Nations with a smaller gender gap enjoy greater prosperity and a higher quality of life, as well as more robust democracy.”
“Support for gender equity increases women’s political representation and broadens issues addressed by legislative action, especially in education and health.”
“The economic value of unpaid domestic labor (e.g. raising children and running
households) represents 25% to 50% of a nation’s GDP.”
The facts, and these are only a few, clearly display the importance and need for women’s leadership and role in the economy and general welfare. But few women are going to get there with the way they are respected and treated in society today. Objectification of women holds them back and implies complete male dominance. Girls can’t get the confidence they desperately need with these examples endlessly advertised and extolled in media. Give girls the power that society has long suppressed.