Last year, Always launched the #LikeaGirl campaign, challenging the negative perception of what it means to do something “like a girl”, which is often used as an insult. The video instantly went viral and has been viewed more than 85 million times in 150 countries and shared by more than 1.5 million people around the world. But their work is far from done. They've just launched the next exciting and ambitious phase of the global campaign and a brand new #LikeAGirl Unstoppable video. If you have daughters (and even if you haven't), you absolutely must go and watch it right now - it's a real eye-opener.
This made me realise, with a jolt of horror, that I am actually slightly guilty of this. Only in small ways - telling Sophie "that's not very ladylike" if she burps or referring to Juliette as a tomboy when she comes home with grass stains on her knees - but even so, as a parent, the last thing in the world that I want to do is add them to the 72% of girls who feel that society limits them.
As part of the campaign, Always sent us through our own white box, just like in the video. On one side it said : "Cheryl can't". Seeing the words written there actually made my hackles rise - I don't like being told I can't do something, especially for being female. So I sat down and tried to think of ways I've felt "boxed in" for being a woman.
My first was "can't be the main decision maker". I hate it when we go to a shop and the staff talk uniquely to Madhouse Daddy as if I don't exist. When our house was on the market, before we opted for a loft conversion, the estate agent used to phone up, ask if Madhouse Daddy was there and if I said no, say he'd phone back. One day, I totally let rip at him and said that he could talk to me too, my signature was on the documents as well so there was no reason to deal uniquely with Madhouse Daddy. Grrrr !
The next is "good at multi tasking". There is some urban myth that women are skilled at multi-tasking and men aren't. This means that it's fine for women to juggle jobs, kids and the housework while men have more than enough on their plates with just a job. Why is that ?!
This is another one that annoys me. "Have PMT." If a man gets annoyed about something, it's justified. If a women lets rip at someone, she must have PMT. Every single day of the month. *Sigh*
I asked Sophie and Juliette if they had any examples of times that they think they are being judged or limited because they are girls. They came up with quite a few can'ts - "allowed to be a skaterboy", "play football", "get dirty", "wear trainers/tracksuit bottoms all the time", "have short hair", ...
We wrote them all out and put them in the box. Then jumped all over it to destroy it. Look at Juliette's face !
How empowering is that ?! It's totally liberating and cathartic and I strongly encourage you to create a box with your own daughters then smash it to bits !
I'd like to finish with some words of wisdom from Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams, delivered in New York at Always’ Confidence Summit:
"Be authentic. Embrace your inner weirdo. If you can do all that, well then get ready for greatness.
Chin up. Chest out.
You are Unstoppable, like a girl."
Disclosure : This is a sponsored, but nevertheless 100% honest and hopefully entertaining, post !