International Day of the Girl Child 2021 Read More →

Jul 04, 2022

International Day of the Girl Child 2021

My daughter

My daughter

“C’mon boys!” shouted the male coach repeatedly at the field of kids playing football last week. All three of my children play in a football club on Sunday mornings: my two daughters and my son.

My girls were both incredulous at the support for the boys, and the boys alone. At the ages of 6 and 8, all three of my children spoke afterwards about how disgruntled they were. I am pleased to say that they found this man’s attitude bizarre. They are, as yet, unaware of the true extent of this kind of sexism in our society; partly because I have instilled in them a belief that they can be anything they wish, regardless of their gender, and partly because, as they look around them, they see successful women and girls in sport, science, medicine, education… So, why would this man shout, “C’mon boys!’ at them when clearly there were both boys and girls on the pitch? They may have found it strange, but they were clued up enough to be deeply  offended.

For children to be subjected to this flippant sexism is highly detrimental. It was damaging to the girls on those teams because it gave the message that their presence was somehow less significant, their skills and efforts unnoticed, and it left them feeling invisible and inferior. For the boys, it gave them the message that their efforts were more significant, their presence of greater value, and it would undoubtedly have spurred them on. It saddens me that my girls came away from that match, less hurt by their team losing 7:1, but much more significantly upset by someone whose role should have been one of encouragement, for both genders. 

The level of discrimination my children were subjected to is minor when compared to worldwide gender inequality:

We clearly have a long road to travel to address these gender inequality issues fully. Globally, we have an equal responsibility to all people. We must prioritise girls’ education, health, safety and socio-economic mobility.  Each and every one of us should be responsible for helping people to flourish,  shouting, “C’mon everyone” from the sidelines of football fields, schools, universities and boardrooms.  C’mon everyone...

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