Young girls need positive role models to aid in the development and reinforcement of being an independent, resilient woman. Young girls need women to
Young girls need positive role models to aid in the development and reinforcement of being an independent, resilient woman. Young girls need women to show and emphasize how vital lifting other women up is rather than tearing one another down. They do not need a woman to show them that something can be done, but rather that they can overcome obstacles to reach her goals. They do not need a woman to teach them how to play the “Blame Game” as to why they did not succeed, but rather someone who stands back up with grace. They do not need a woman who does not blame her unsuccessful adventures on the basis of simply being a woman, but rather someone who is ready to aid another woman in her bid to victory. Maybe it wasn’t what happened, but who happened.
Too often young girls are not taught from an early age that the best way to be a successful, self-reliant woman is to build confidence from within. Confidence can be enhanced by praise and compliments, but it should be made evident to young women that they hold the power to control their feelings. Confidence, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances. Nowhere does the definition say that anyone else defined a person’s confidence; thus, one must believe in their own capabilities from within. Nothing will arise from other people’s belief in a person unless they hold it from within. When girls are beginning to form their own identities or becoming young women, the definition of confidence should become a mantra that they hold close to their hearts. No one holds any power over how they feel about themselves or their abilities. Mothers and fathers should direct their daughters to look into the things they love for beauty, not magazines or pop culture.
Women and girls should also be taught that confidence does not mean that imperfections and flaws suddenly disappear. When “get your confidence back” is Googled the first five articles mention nothing about embracing mistakes and flaws. Confidence embodies taking flaws and working with them to achieve. Attempting to pretend flaws and failures do not exist will only result in the loss of confidence to grow overtime. Many times confidence is portrayed as being flawless and having each aspect of life in order; however, confidence means to believe that when life is at its worst or messiest, someone is able to handle it with grace. Someone learning to embrace their flaws is an integral aspect of being able to be confident.
A study featured in the Atlantic conducted by research psychologist, Zachary Estes, demonstrated that women connected actions with confidence at a higher rate than men. A group of 500 students, men and women, were asked to take a test. By just taking the test each gender had nearly an 80% average; yet, when asked to do take again and share their confidence in their answer, women dropped to 75% while men jumped to 93%. Estes concluded that women have a tendency to question themselves when asked to think, but men are the exact opposite. If women question themselves while completing a simple task, such as a low pressure test, where else will that mentality extend? Fortune.com says that 6.4% of CEOs are women and Rutgers University women hold only 105 seats out of 536 in the United States’ Congress. Too many women are not creating, gaining, or promoting enough confidence to strive for leadership positions.
The Issues Politically: They Aren’t What You Think
Politics are becoming the forefront of American popular culture; thus, many controversial issues begin to draw the majority of media coverage and attention. Partisan and identity politics begin to become too prevalent and many are marginalized simply because of a label. It is too easily assumed that the majority of women rank abortion as their top issues. According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, only 52% of [Republican and Democratic] women voters ranked abortion as very important. More women ranked the economy (83%) and terrorism (82%) as very important. Though half of women believe abortion is important, there is still 48% of women who do not believe it is so. Women can have multiple very important issues; thus, women should not be marginally targeted on certain issues. It should also be recognized that women can specialize in other fields.
Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, is a strong, powerful woman who shows no cracks in her confidence. Not only is Ambassador Haley a graceful and skilled diplomat, but she is not afraid to take charge and lead with assurance to accomplish and advance resolutions in the U.N. Haley has repeatedly stood up to one of the most notorious dictators of the 21st century: Kim Jong Un. “His [Kim Jong Un] abusive use of missiles and nuclear threats show that he is begging for war,” said Haley to the U.N. Security Council. Due to her efforts, the United States and other world powers have begun the process of taking actions to sanction North Korea. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s confidence in her own abilities to delegate and speak have changed the world. Women are vital to advancing world wide change in all areas, especially world peace.
Within elected offices women hold the minority; however, the women that do hold postions are proving everyday that women can be confident and perform. Erin Stewart is the current mayor of New Britain, Connecticut. She is the youngest Republican woman ever to become a mayor in the United States. Mayor Stewart transformed the financial state of New Britain through providing a $15 million “rainy day” fund for the city as well as increasing their bond rating to an A+. Erin is a trailblazer for young women because not only is she the youngest to ever to hold her position, she has policy that was the catalyst for change. She demonstrates that any woman can have a direct policy agenda no matter how young she is. Gender has no influence on how well a task can be performed if someone carries themselves with confidence.
Winchester and Frederick County have amazing women representing them in government. State Senator Jill Vogel did not only a bold, unique legislative agenda in the Senate, but had the chance to be the first female lieutenant governor of Virginia. While running Senator Vogel balanced being a state senator and a mom to her children, she led a tough legislative initiative on immigration as well as second amendment rights. Though each issue is polarizing, Senator Vogel is ready to fight to promote them in the Senate. Jill Vogel proves that women can lead individually. Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, who also represents Winchester and Frederick, fights for young girls in legislation and programs. Annually Comstock holds a Young Women’s Leadership Program that allows for participants to hear from women leaders in multiple career fields, spanning from STEM to government work and philanthropy throughout the summer. One of Comstock’s largest legislative achievements is her INSPIRE Women Act. The legislation gives more opportunities for women to get involved in STEM because currently women are underrepresented in the field. Barbara Comstock uses her position as a leader to enable other women to become leaders. Through her confidence, she is instill the same in others.
Women urgently need to help each other become more confident and empowered. Strength lies in numbers; imagine what the world could be like if thousands of confident women begin to speak up and become catalysts for change. It all starts with one woman speaking up and leaning in.