Friday, November 10, 2006

Equal Rights for Girls and Boys

That was the title of an essay my elementary-school aged daughter wrote this week. She and her classmates each had to choose a topic related to a "right" that was important to them. I was impressed by her essay because (1) I'm her mother, and (2) The essay was written from her heart, using her own examples, which were:

- Politics. Even young children couldn't escape the onslaught of campaigning in the recent elections. We passed dozens of lawn signs on the walk to school, we had constant phone calls and knocks on the door by campaign workers, her school let the kids vote in their own voting booths set aside for kids, and the mother of one of her school friends was running for office. This led to conversations about whether there had ever been a woman President, Vice-President, how many women Senators there are, and so on.

- Her grandmother/my mother. The combination of the elections and my mother's recent visit reminded my daughter that her grandmother was the first woman mayor of the small city where I grew up. She was fascinated by the story of how people doubted her grandmother, but grandma was a great mayor and won over some of her critics. So she wrote about that. Role models work!

- Sexist chants on the playground. These have existed for eons. My daughter says she wasn't really bothered by them because they are so stupid, but she thought they were an example of how some attitudes might start really early and then never entirely go away.

I'm glad she chose this topic. It was interesting to see her pull together in writing various things she's been thinking about lately (maybe she should start a blog?).

I told her that I thought she was going to write about how kids should have the right to choose their own name -- she has a long, hyphenated last name, and I wouldn't be surprised if some day one name gets lopped (that would be fine with me; eventually it will be her choice). She said she likes her complicated last name because it's something unique and special about her and it makes her feel connected to both of her parents.


ScienceWoman said...

She has a great role model in you, even though she may not recognize it yet. Congratulations on raising a perceptive little girl.

saxifraga said...

What an amazing daughter you have. You must be a great mother. You have raised her well.

Zuska said...

What an awesome kid. I would be thrilled to pieces to have a daughter like that.

Ms.PhD said...

I love your daughter!

But, kind of sad that this generation feels the same way I did when I was a kid, and very little seems to be improving at a noticeable rate.

Here's to Nancy Pelosi.