What we need to stop saying to girls

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Words matter: Our voices are more powerful than we think.

Whether subtle or direct, in the media or their day-to-day lives, the messages girls hear and see can influence their confidence, ambitions and future. Negative gender stereotypes and outdated beliefs about a girl’s ability can have a disempowering affect.

We brought a group of women and girls together to share some of the words used against them, as weapons to discourage, intimidate and reprimand.

From victim-blaming…

A young woman speaking, with the words “you brought it on yourself” superimposed.

…to stereotyping…

A young woman speaking, with the words “your opinions are too aggressive” superimposed.

…the underlying message that women and girls are inferior is unfortunately all too common in societies around the world.

A young woman speaking, with the words “we wish you were a boy” superimposed.

Girls aren’t, can’t, don’t, won’t

Cultural and societal expectations across the globe can mean girls are told what they can and cannot do, and how to behave – creating invisible, yet very real, limitations and barriers to a girl’s dreams and aspirations.

A statistical finding from Plan International Canada research.

Research conducted as part of Strong Girls Strong World, a Status of Women Canada program with Plan International Canada, YMCA Canada and YWCA Canada, found 1 in 2 girls feel that gender stereotypes often or always affect adolescent girls’ career path decisions.

A recent survey of girls across Canada, found 1 in 2 girls feel gender stereotypes often or always affect adolescent girls’ career path decisions. This means there are girls out there giving up on their ambitions, simply because of arbitrary beliefs engrained in our societies. This has to stop.

Girls are, can, do, will

It’s time we send girls the right message…because today’s empowered girls are tomorrow’s empowered women.

We want to flip the script and engage girls, boys, men and women in a conversation about the impact our words can have on the girls around us. It’s time we send girls the right message and spread empowerment – because today’s empowered girls are tomorrow’s empowered women.

Together, our collective voice can create a ripple effect of change that can help end gender inequality. By raising our voice to tell a girl she can, we lift her up to reach above and beyond the walls of gender discrimination.

Watch the video