Over the last 50 years, women have made great strides for equal rights, but inequality still exists in many situations. For example, women today earn, on average, just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, which adds up to approximately $11,000 per year (Hello Ladies News). Additionally, in 2009 only 24 percent of CEOs in the US were women and they earned 74.5% as much as male CEOs (International Labour Organization) Women are also underrepresented in politics and make up only 17% of Congress (WCF Foundation). Moreover, 85% of survivors of Intimate Partner Violence are women (AllState Foundation).
For these reasons, and many more, it is important to raise a generation of girls and boys that want to work towards gender equality. As a Big Sister, you can play a big role in helping your Little Sister start thinking about gender equality regardless of her age. Here are some suggestions:
- Education about the struggle that women have faced in the past and still face today. One match activity that could help learn more about women’s history is to take a self-guided tour on the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail. On their website, they have guides for tours in neighborhoods all over Boston. They also have events and exhibits on women’s history.
- Talk to women from different generations about what it means to be a feminist and what the word means to them. You can also discuss with them what changes they have seen for women over the years.
- Read a book together. If your Little Sister is younger, there are several books of fairy tales written from a feminist perspective. One example is Feminist Fairy Tales by Barbara G Walker. If your Little Sister if older, read a book that discusses being a feminist as a young woman. One example is A Little F’ed Up: Why Feminism is Not a Dirty Word by Julie Zeilinger.
- Watch MissRepresentation or find a screening of the movie. For more information, follow them on Facebook or check out their website.
- When watching TV or a movie, discuss the ways that women are portrayed. Are they portrayed with positive characteristics – such as being strong, confident and smart? Or are they portrayed with negative characteristics – such as being manipulative, shallow, and sex objects? You can also talk about music that your Little Sister may listen to. The important thing to point out is that your Little Sister does not have to stop watching shows that portray women in a negative way; however, it is important for her to develop media literacy to critique these portrayals.
- Identify and discuss sheroes, which are female heroes. A shero can be someone that you know personal or a female role model that you look up to. You can start the discussion with sheroes you are already familiar with – such as Michelle Obama, Hilary Clinton, or Beyoncé. You can also look up other sheroes that you are not familiar with – such as Benazir Bhutto, Jane Goodall, or Melnea Cass.
Spread the message with the click of a button! If you are not already connected to Big Sister through Facebook please “Like” us or follow us on Twitter. There are a lot of great resources and posts that you can share.
Begin or continue the conversation! Talk with friends, family, and colleagues about the need for more women to inspire a girl in their community. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about being present.
Share your story! Write about your experience as a Big Sister, your favorite match activity with your Little Sister, or how you supported a friend to become a Big Sister and send them to Nikki White at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming Big Sister Events
Poetry & Photography Workshop
Saturday, June 1, 10:00am-12:00pm
Learn how to put your thoughts on paper through poetry or a short story with your Little Sister. Bring in 3-5 favorite photos for inspiration! Matches will have an opportunity to share what they’ve written at the end of class. To RSVP contact Jessica Mendenhall at email@example.com.
Saturday, May 18
What better way to show your Little Sister how to reach a goal than with a fun-filled scavenger hunt around downtown Boston! 7-10 year-olds will learn skills to reach for their dreams during Big Sister’s Real Choices Strong Voices – Dream Big! workshop.
Please contact Holly Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot. Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity!