Today on the blog is a guest piece written by Kathryn Mannix, author of the Sunday Times bestselling With The End In Mind.
What I hope for my daughter… is the same as what I hope for my son. Why would it be otherwise?
I hope that both will live happily and tread gently upon this earth. That they will love and be loved, and be free to do so. That their different contributions and talents will be valued by society equally and wholly. These are rights that they should expect, embrace, and defend.
In their turn, I hope that they will treat all people with respect and kindness; that they will hold to account those who fail to do likewise; that they will celebrate others’ achievements and not be bashful about their own gifts; that they will serve their communities and help to create a society where people are cherished because they are people, not because of their wealth, beauty or power.
Power. Ah, yes: I hope that my gentle daughter will recognise her power. Her power to make decisions, and to support and sustain others, in accord with her beliefs and principles. Her power to disagree, and challenge, and to be an instrument of change when fairness and justice are compromised, whether publicly or in private. Her power to enthuse, and lead, and influence through actions whether mighty or minute – the small things done in a great way that inspire others to act with similar integrity; and when opportunity arises to do great things, that she will step up secure in the knowledge that she is the equal of anyone who stands with her, and any who may stand against her. That she will feel empowered to take her rightful place amongst others in her community, each of equal worth, each making their unique contribution.
In parallel, I hope that my strong son will recognise his power. His power to model collaboration, trust and empathy; to demonstrate that great strength can be used with equal tenderness; and to show that strong people are calm, gentle and respectful of others – even those with whom they may disagree. The ability to manage and temper our strength, whether physical or intellectual, is the mark of its greatness. Our strengths can be used to build understanding, cooperation or confidence in self and others; and they can be abused to destroy those same treasures. His powerful frame should not be a threat, but a beacon.
What I hope for my daughter… is the same as what I hope for my son. Why would it be otherwise? They have been raised in a framework of mutual respect and worth; differently gifted yet equal in merit. Simply, they are both people: their inherent human dignity trumps gender and any other differences. The rights they enjoy require the responsibility to defend them; actions as well as words, for everyone and not just the few. I hope they know, model and live this truth, secure in their own, individual self-worth.
How do you respond to individuals who openly state that they are not a feminist? Laline Paull responds.
Valeria Luiselli writes about her inspiring daughter in Year 3 here.
Read an extract of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists.
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