BY : Dr Melanie Drake | Principal, Clarendon Primary School
There has never been a more exhilarating time to be female in this world. The vastness of opportunity and discovery, of redefining the who can, and who cannot are exciting. As we spearhead advancement in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, businesses are hungry for leadership that is risky, yet analytical; firm, yet empathetic; socially just, and transformative.
Our role as current female leaders is vitally important, as we have a generation of young girls critically observing and analysing our every move. With the 24-hour accessibility of women’s lives on various social media platforms, girls are hungry for role-models who reflect modern values, integrity and GRIT. Research from around the globe supports the need for girls to learn grit, to forget ideals of perfectionism and flawlessness, but rather embrace the realness of “getting back up again”, “trying harder”, “never giving up”, and “taking safe risks”. Young girls are particularly risk-averse, and this disempowers them in leadership roles and emerging industries, often seeing their male counterparts succeeding.
The time for nurturing the female youth is now. With powerful companies, such as Nike and Gillette challenging deeply-embedded societal masculinity, misogyny and breaking the mould of traditional female traits, we see girls yearning to be stronger, tougher, more resilient and truer to themselves. Nike promote “show them what crazy can do!”; the Always Brand have a powerful campaign, #likeagirl, and through these marketing efforts, we see a new image of ‘a woman’ emerging; one that resonates with the true spirit of young girls in the 21st Century.
Despite culture, beliefs, or morals, girls today face challenges to compete in our global citizenship. Somewhere along their journey through life, they will face discrimination based on their sex, their looks, their body image, and the decisions they make. It is up to us as the women of today, to help them navigate these stormy waters. By us facing our own gender-based challenges and sharing our own stories with young girls, we best equip them to face their future. After all is said and done, we are a sisterhood, and in that, we are powerful!