Who cares about girls?

By Allison Pfotzer

No this isn’t a trick question, and if you can figure it out in less than 50 years, you beat the UN’s time. Aside from the obvious answer that the Prime Minister of Canada gave this autumn “Because it’s 2015,” it’s just economically smart too.

This video came out in 2010, over 5 years ago. It outlines the simple relation between:

Invest in Girls in developing nations = Better communities

Better Communities = Better nations

Better developing nations = Better developed Nations = Bettering all nations

Better Nations = Better world

So that means…

Invest in Girls = Better World

Not too much economics or algebra is required to solve this problem. But what is holding us back from solving the problem is ignorance and prejudice. There is nothing pitiable about females; we’re strong, independent, hard-working, determined and intelligent. But note that nothing I’ve listed has any kind of comparison in it: women are not better than men. And there’s no need to have such a sentiment like that come out. We’re equal and through that recognition, the possibilities of the human race expand tenfold.

The problem is that while we’re equal, men have been given the opportunities, investments and voice to get ahead for far longer. And as women come forward to ask for the big jobs and leadership roles, we’re labeled as “pushy,” “bossy,” and “bitches,” frequently by other women.

In her book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg delivers an unapologetic solution to one of the world’s biggest problems—the lack of women in power. While there are many reasons for this, the book addressed one reason in particular: “that women are taught that they need to keep themselves out of power, and that they therefore limit their own ambitions and sabotage their own careers.” Sounds kinda weird, right?

Through statics the story presents itself pretty clearly:

Congress is 18% female.

Women hold 16% of board seats.

Women hold 14% of executive officer positions.

21 of the Fortune 500 CEOS are women.

Women are 57% of college graduates and 63% of masters degree holders, but that majority fades as careers progress.

In 1970, Women were paid $0.59 for every dollar men made. In 2013, $0.77.

“What….?” Asked Sandberg

Women have to prove themselves more than men. A McKinsey study says men are promoted based on potential, while women are promoted on accomplishments.

“Maybe are women holding themselves back?”

Girls perform worse on tests when they have to check off M or F before taking it.

Despite outperforming men, female surgical students give themselves lower grades.

In a survey of 4,000 employees at big companies, 36% of men said they want to be CEO. Only 18% of women said the same.

Middle school boys say they want to be leaders when they grow up. Middle school girls usually don't say that.

Women are much less likely to say they want to be president.

More male college students say they want to "reach managerial level" three years after school than females.

Successful women are more likely to feel like "impostors" who will be found out.

Men attribute their success to innate qualities and skills. Women attribute their success to luck and help from others.

When men fail, they say its because they weren't interested. Women blame their lack of ability.

Men are 60% more likely to think of themselves as "very qualified" to run for office.

Sandberg asks….“So why do women seem to aspire less and be less confident?”

Teachers answer boys when they call out, but scold girls who call out, and tell them to raise their hands.

Teachers call on boys more often.

Mothers are more likely to just watch their infant boys play by themselves.

Mothers spend more time comforting and hugging infant girls.

Parents talk to girl babies more than boy babies.

41% of women are primary breadwinners. 23% are co-breadwinners. 52% of black kids are raised by a single mother.

Women and girls are ingrained everyday by society to not reach for positions of power in our society. These systematic events create strong doubt and feelings of a lack of legitimacy, two pretty crucial parts of self-actualizing oneself to succeed.

Luckily there’s a pretty easy solution: just watch yourself on all of those little things.

Ban the word “bossy” from your classroom or home

Encourage girls in school as much as boys

Develop hiring quotas and re-affirm affirmative action

But the one big one Sandberg outlines clearly:

 

“Sharing financial and childcare responsibilities with a husband makes for less guilty moms, more involved dads, and "thriving" children.”

Huh, seems doable to me.

See the article on her book here:

http://www.businessinsider.com/sheryl-sandberg-presents-mind-blowing-stats-about-how-and-why-women-hold-themselves-back-2013-2?op=1