Is it Time to Finally Say…These are Good Days to be a Girl?

For over a generation we have been fighting for our girls…creating a world where they can be anything they want to be; a world where they are treated as equals to boys.

That hard work has paid off:

  • Girls have now passed boys in almost every level of education
  • More girls than boys take college prep classes in school
  • More girls than boys take the SAT
  • Girls get better grades than boys and graduate with high GPA’s
  • More girls than boys are attending and graduating from college

Virtually every area once the domain of men has been opened up to women.  Compared to my grandmother’s and mother’s generations, our girls now live in a world of unprecedented opportunity.  My daughter is an example:  She attended an American College in London, England.  She went on to get her Master’s in International Law at the School for Oriental and Asian Studies in London.  She did several internships including one at the State Department and one in Arusha as a part of the Rwanda Genocide Tribunal.  She then graduated from the University of Minnesota with a law degree.  Now she’s using her education and gifts working with at risk youth in Phoenix, among other things.

These are good days to be a girl.  And by every measure they are getting better and better.  (This is true in England as well.)

Yet, instead of celebrating, we continue to perpetuate the myth that our girls are in trouble…that they are victims of a patriarchal society…that they are being discriminated against.  It might be good for political purposes, but it demeans all the hard work we’ve done to create a better world for our girls.  And it demeans our girls themselves.

The current “victim” example is the continued discussion about wage discrimination.  The headline says that women make $.77 for every $1.00 men make.  The Obama Administration has been touting that figure as of late to promote the passage of a wage discrimination bill.  It’s good for politics.  But it’s just not true.  That figure has been debunked by several sources.  The White House itself has gotten itself into some trouble touting that myth.

Not only is the myth not true, but young adult women are increasingly making more than young adult men.   (If they are graduating from college at higher rates than men, this makes sense!)

The point is this:  Our girls aren’t victims. They live in a world where they can be whatever God is calling them to be.  That’s worth celebrating!  But if we keep perpetuating old story lines for political gain, our young women will continue to feel that life is unfairly skewed against them.  That demeans them.  It dis-empowers them.  And it simply isn’t true.

Are there still battles to be fought?  Absolutely.  (The over-sexualization of our girls; the pressure to be everything and do it all—women are more stressed now than they were 30 years ago; to name a few issues).  But we have made huge strides in the last 40-50 years.

Rather than perpetuating an old story, let’s celebrate the new story.  These are good days to be a girl in the US.  And the days will only get better.

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About Tim Wright

I've been a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America since 1984, currently serving as the founding pastor of Community of Grace in Peoria, AZ. My wife, Jan and I, were married in 1979. We raised two kids and currently have 3 grandkids. I love to ride my bike, travel, read British Mysteries, and Disneyland. I have written 6 books, including my newest--Searching for Tom Sawyer: How Parents and Congregations Can Stop the Exodus of Boys From Church. My website:

  • Nora Ortiz Fredrick

    So you’re going to split hairs over gender inequality in pay is 77 cents or 81 cents for every dollar a man earns? So earning inequality at 19% is soooo much better than 23%. By the way, earning inequality for women pastors is one of the highest by profession. This article was offensive to me as a woman – it reeked of sexism and privilege.

    • Kathy K-m

      Ummm…who’s fault is it that there’s such a pay gap? Have you tried asking? Alternatively, why would you work for such an organization?

    • RevTim

      Nora, the pay gap is not 77 cents or even 81 cents. If there is a gap, it’s now just pennies. And again, young adult women are now reaping the benefits of our hard work as they are now making more than young adult men. I’m not quite sure why the article was offensive to you. My point is to say that we’ve worked hard for our daughters and they are now enjoying the benefits of it.

      Girls have now passed boys in almost every level of education
      More girls than boys take college prep classes in school
      More girls than boys take the SAT
      Girls get better grades than boys and graduate with high GPA’s
      More girls than boys are attending and graduating from college
      How is that sexist? How is that male privilege? Perhaps it’s time we put those tired words to bed and have open discussions about the joys and challenges our boys and girls face in life. And in the case of our daughters, this is one dad/grandpa who is celebrating the opportunities his daughter and granddaughter have inherited thanks to the push for equality.

      • Nora Ortiz Fredrick

        So you are arguing against your own citation? Your reference where the administration’s 77% is inaccurate, says the actual number is 81%. In the Time article about women out-earning some men, the citation then provides “Here’s the slightly deflating caveat: this reverse gender gap, as it’s known, applies only to unmarried, childless women under 30 who live in cities. The rest of working women — even those of the same age, but who are married or don’t live in a major metropolitan area — are still on the less scenic side of the wage divide.”

        So when you refute my comment, you refute yourself.

        • RevTim

          Nora, thanks for the response. Here is just one of many articles that suggests the wage gap is closer to 5-7 cents:

          5-7 cents is still unfair, but the trends, including the single young adult women making more than young adult men, shows women are soon to be equal to and then surpass men in real earnings (again, if more women than men graduate from college, this makes complete sense. The Time article was written in 2010 I believe. The recession has also shifted the wage gap as almost 80% of jobs lost in the recession were to men. We live in a new world and my point is that this can be good news for our girls.)

          All the trends say that our girls are doing far better than our boys in virtually every area of life. For me, this raises a couple of responses:

          1) As I try to say in this post, these are good, positive days for our girls. Not perfect, but far better than the media often portrays. We should celebrate that.

          2) The falling behind of our boys should give us pause. As we continue to fight for our daughters, what will we do for our sons so that they aren’t left in the dust.

          This is not a zero sum game. For me, this is about celebrating what should be celebrated and fighting for what needs to be changed. We’ve fought so long for our daughters that it’s hard for some to step back and give thanks for the major steps we’ve taken. At the same time, we’ve fought so hard for our daughters that any suggestion we now need to do the same for our boys smacks of patriarchy, sexism, and the like.

          Not sure you and I will see eye to eye on this…but hopefully we’re stirring up some thinking about our girls and our boys. Let’s keep at it.

  • Kathy K-m

    Bravo! I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s gotten to the point where I won’t even identify with the “feminist” movement anymore, because it’s gotten too far from equality and is leaning towards “special privileges”.
    Which is ironic, because I was very involved in the beginning… From pro-choice activities, overhauling rape and domestic abuse laws, breaking down my own career barriers and my spouse being the stay-at-home parent.
    I have never been paid less than a man, possibly because I asked, sometimes demanded, that I be treated equally. (but I also worked, like a man…no time off for sick kids and their doctor appointments. No calls from the school or to arrange playdates, on company time)
    Women today can have anything. They just can’t have it ALL.

  • Cvbhg

    Funny how you say nothing to address the problems working mothers face in this country. Lets start with our dismal maternity leave. A disgrace for a country that says its all about family.

  • mirucha

    Although the author acknowledges that there is much more to be done to reach real equality, he seems to want women to stop working toward it (or at least stop saying that we’re not there yet. This is like telling the Hebrews to settle in the desert ’cause since they’ve passed the Red Sea, they shouldn’t complain that there’s no milk & honey. So absurd for a PASTOR to say what’s good for God’s people is not what women in particular should aim for. Would you tell your daughter that a C is “almost” the same as an A grade? Would you tell your three grandchildren that a minimum wage job is “almost” as professional as being a pastor? Would you want The USA to still be part of the British Commonwealth, because it’s “almost” independence? Jesus came that we might have life that is “almost” abundant? the parallels are infinitely ridiculous, because the whole premise is so contrary to Christianity.

  • Casde

    Maybe a great day to be a girl, but how about a woman? What good are all these advancements in education when this country lacks support for working mothers and parents in general? We are the only developed country without a guaranteed paid maternity leave and as a consequence the vast majority do not have this ( except in the case of the highest income earners …. Who need it least) . This despite the fact that the majority of Americans support paid family leave.

    You missed the point on this one

    • Jaimee Silva

      Let’s celebrate the good instead of always pointing out the bad/negative. Keep persevering towards the goals.