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.