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Reshma Saujani is the founder of Girls Who Code (a non-profit organization aiming at closing the gender gap in technology). As she started her career in politics, Reshma Saujani discovered that a lot of women end up choosing careers that they are sure they will succeed in and ignore the ones that have the likelihood of failure. Through having a conversation with other women, she found that various women gravitate toward careers and professions that they are sure they are going to be celebrated rather than taking risks. Saujani (np), articulated that it is important to teach girls to be brave in schools as well as early in their professions. It is essential to show girls that they will be accepted and loved in society for not being perfect but for being courageous. The purpose of this paper is to discuss teaching girls how to be brave and showing them, it is okay to make mistakes and to take risks.
Lately, I keep coming back to this theme of fearlessness. It has come up in several conversations I have had over the past few months with some of my friends, and it has got me thinking about how to teach our girls to be fearless and be able to take risks. I had a conversation with one of my classmates, who adores his little sister’s teacher. He told me that the teacher always teaches her students to take risks. She is the kind of teacher who allows every student to participate in a class presentation hence making the students to become fearless.
I had the chance to go on a camping trip with my classmates. We were supposed to be camping in tents, but there was still quite a bit of snow on the ground due to the harsh winter. We had to sleep in the cabin instead of the tents. It was all exciting and we could not allow the weather to spoil our mood. After settling into the cabins, we later decided to take an evening hike in the forest, which was about five miles through the ever-present snow. We were on the front line sliding through the snow. Every male colleague could not hesitate to pick up fallen tree branches for walking sticks, exploring sites off the trail. I noticed that all the girls were walking towards the back.
We finally came across a huge tree that had fallen blocking our way out. We immediately ran over and started walking across leaving the girls behind. All the girls never attempted to run over and walk across that log. We tried to encourage them to try, but not a single girl wanted to step forward. They started complaining about the log being too huge; hence, they were scared to try. I could not stop wondering what these girls have experienced to make them think in that manner. But probably they were all afraid of taking risks.
We went on ahead, as some girls were left behind. They all tried to walk across the log and helping each other by holding hands to cross the log and were very cautious, but then again, they tried. They were all excited after managing to walk across it. They could not even stop to try it again. I think the girls wanted to try it when they could be sure they would succeed.
Our girls need to know that in the real world, success is a product of bravery, but not perfection. It seems like education has been taking a shift for a long time. The focus has moved from teaching students’ content to teaching them skills like being a creative, collaboration, as well as bravery. Let us teach our girls bravery with intentionality. We can achieve this by being able to provide them with chances of taking risks in a safe environment. Our fear of making mistakes is mainly caused by lacking confidence in our abilities. I have realized that it is always girls with higher capacity who find it most challenging in learning from their mistakes. In most cases, they think making a mistake is a failure, and personal criticism instead of a chance to grow. We need to emphasize that learning does not mean getting everything right every time, but instead, it is about perseverance as well as resilience. The advantages of risk-taking and failure need to be clearly defined and celebrated.
Finally, it may be concluded that every woman has to be contented with imperfection. This is because when we teach every girl to be imperfect, along with helping them leverage it, we will build a movement of brave girls who are ready to take risks. These young women will be able to create a better world for themselves and everyone else in this universe. We also need to keep reminding our girls that they will be accepted and loved in society for not being perfect but for being courageous.
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