3 Things You Need to Stop Saying to Your Daughter (and to Yourself)
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  • “It really starts at home,” said Chal Lontoc, president and general manager of Jeron Travel, mother of two boys, and one of the 10 ambassadors at Edukasyon.ph's launch of its new campaign, "Investing in the Future of Young Pinays, Empowering Girls for Their Education-to-Employment Journey. "

    This campaign is in partnership with "Investing in Women," an Australian initiative that focuses on empowering young girls well before they start their careers.

    “I’m a mom of two boys, and you cannot talk about women empowerment and raise confident little girls without including men in the conversation,” Chal said.

    Edukasyon.ph's ambassadors: (from left) Audrey Pe, founded WiTech (Women in Tech) at 15; Site Lao, the youngest legislator in the history of the country from 2012 to 2013; Kelsey Hadjirul, a 14-year-old advocate of LGBTQ rights; Meryl Jalani, national president of Millennials PH; Jen Tarnate, TV director and producer; Kara Pangilinan, the woman behind the art brand Details In; Chal Lontoc-Del Rosario, president and general manager of Jeron Travel; and Chuks Arias, a gender equality and anti-gender violence advocate.

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    Chal makes sure she does what she can when it comes to breaking social and cultural norms. She is mindful of how she talks to her little boys, knowing that what she does and says can eventually impact how her kids would perceive and treat women when they grow up.

    “We were at the beach one time, and the only pair of goggles we had was a pink one. And one of my boys said he wanted the blue one. And I said, why? Who said pink is for girls and blue is for boys? Pink and blue are just colors,” she shared.

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    1. “You can’t do that.”

    “We raised the kids in such a way that they see their mom doing a plethora of things, whether hosting, running a company, or even doing theater improv comedy — it gives them that awareness that these are the things that women can do,” Chal adds.

    Our duaghters need to know they have a choice to pursue their dreams. Stop saying "be careful," "watch out," or, worse, “no" when your little girls play rough or move away from their comfort zones.

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    TV director and producer Jen Tarnate said it’s important for little girls to own their womanhood and to understand its advantages at an early age. “View your femininity as an advantage, not a hindrance or a burden.”

    Jen works in an industry where most are men, from directors and producers to actors. “I felt the need to act more boyish or rougher just so I would fit in,” she says.

    “But throughout my career, I learned that being a woman is my advantage. Because there are stories that only women know how to tell,” she adds.

    2. “Kababae mong tao…”

    A 2016 labor force survey by the Philippine Statistics Authority reveals that only 50% of working age women are in the labor force, while 80% are men. Bridging this gender gap requires a shift in culture, tradition, and mindset.

    Allow your little girl to pursue what she wants regardless of the job’s traditional gender orientation. Change old perceptions of women like how she is "meant" to stay at home and take care of the household, or she needs to do jobs that are more "feminine."

    As a Barbie campaign highlighted back in 2016, girls should be able to freely visualize themselves as a mermaid, movie star, fairy fashionista, princess or rock star. It’s important not to limit your child to society’s preconceived ideas about what women should and should not be doing.

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    3. “Why can’t you be more like…”

    Nothing hurts your child’s confidence more than comparing her with her siblings or other kids her age. Remember that each child is unique. Highlight your child’s strengths and help her overcome her weaknesses instead of paying more attention to what she finds difficult to do.

    Steer her on the right path, but let her take the lead. Help your child recognize the importance of her voice and her opinion. Encourage her when she stands out instead of calling her out because of her uniqueness.

    It’s also important to give your little girl the right tools to help her achieve her dreams. “Young people should be able to dream without being held back,” said Kara Pangilinan, creative entrepreneur.

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    “Young women should be able to believe in themselves and believe that they can do whatever they want. They should believe in their potential and their talent,” she adds.

    What you say to your little girl has a significant impact on how she sees herself and how she would move to shape her future. Inspire strength in your girl by being a good example.

    “I think moms can get the confidence boost from other women. I know work-from-home moms who are very fulfilled because they have a good support system. Women should support other women,” Chal adds.

    Learn more about how you can empower your little girl so she can grow up to be a confident woman here. You can also show them these cool women slaying in male-dominated careers here.

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