19 Feb 2021

5 Things parents do to empower their daughters that actually harm them.

Ours is a male-dominated society which can be confirmed by the various norms prevailing not just in developing countries but also in developed western countries. 

In Spite of all the efforts being made by the education system, the belief system hasn't been changed in most places and we have a long way to go.

In order to make sure that our daughters keep safe and happy we as a society have been encouraging each other to empower them to take all the challenges head-on that they might have to face because of their gender.

The efforts being taken by parents on this path are affected by their own belief system, perspective, life experiences, hidden motives, emotions involved, and culture. This is why it is important to think rationally and decide what's actually serving the daughters and what's causing harm. Let's see what are the empowerment intended things that don't empower our daughters.
  1. Telling them to focus only and only on studies. The more they study the more the degrees and the more the degrees the more the money and power. Well, This belief is very common in modern Indian culture. News websites have ample amount of examples of suicide cases attempted by top scholars. Degrees, marks, and jobs don't guarantee a great life unless one has great mental health and social skills which cannot be acquired if one is solely focused on academics all life.
  2. Discouraging them to learn house chores. I personally know a lot of girls who are very proud of not knowing cooking and other chores. It's okay if someone is born and married in exceptionally rich families because otherwise, everyone needs to learn regular chores in order to survive a normal life, especially after marriage. We all have experienced this very precisely during the covid19 lockdown period. It's not cool to not know things you need to do to live. Goes for both genders. If you observe you will see that little kids feel very happy if you allow them to help you with chores they like. This is the age where we should start encouraging to participate. This not only makes them capable but also lessens our burden. Moreover, nothing is more healthy and nutritious than a home-cooked meal.
  3. Shaming them or not encouraging them to show interest in traditional crafting. Till my mother's generation every Indian girl knew how to crochet, knit, sew, and other such crafts. Earlier this was the way of life. Men and women both knew a set of skills that made their lives convenient. But with industrialization God knows who brainwashed Indians into thinking that making things at home is a sign of financial weakness due to which people feel ashamed of using handmade products like woolen wears etc which were proudly worn till the last generation. According to psychology, crafting and engaging in other creative work is highly helpful in improving and maintaining great mental health and it is also a wonderful way of showing love to someone.
  4. Expecting them to be equal to or excel boys. Why for the love of God, why? Why this race. God created two genders so that they can complement each other. Both are different and unique in their own ways and add beauty to family life in their own unique ways. We need to teach our children to have mutual respect for the other gender so that they can live in harmony with their spouses later on in life while playing their parts honestly.
  5. Showing unnecessary pity for housewives or full-time moms. Being financially dependent definitely empowers a woman but it should be completely her choice which she should be allowed to decide as per her circumstances. “Working” or “not working” should not be forced upon any woman, not even subtly(by shaming, mocking, or showing unnecessary pity for other women who choose to be a homemaker or stay at home moms) in front of her. Girls raised in homes with this belief system fall prey to depression and low self-esteem later in life if they are unable to maintain a job due to their circumstances like health, family circumstances, or relationship issues which definitely doesn’t make them feel empowered. Apart from this I personally know women who are earning six-figure salaries but don’t even have any right to decide what they want to buy for groceries as they are living a life controlled by their spouse and on the other hand, there are housewives who are living a life of dignity while being financially dependent on responsible husbands.

Knowing how to cook, clean, sew, knit, crochet, take care of children will not disempower them but rather will make their life easy. Having some extra skills will make a girl’s or a boy’s life beautiful and easy. 

We must teach our daughters that a job, a degree or a rich husband, or a groomed up body won’t decide her worth. She is not what she does. She is what she is and deserved to be loved for being herself and not being the holder of a “Title”. This is the most important lesson that you can give your daughter. 

Make her understand that she is worthy of love and respect irrespective of the material possessions she has or will have in the future. This will create a strong image of self in her eyes and also she will know that you will always have her back no matter what.

Teach her that she owns her body and is allowed to do anything to protect it. Teach her spirituality, meditation, and mindfulness which will enrich her as a soul and she will feel empowered from inside and will be able to thrive in any situation that comes in her way.

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