How to

How to Talk to your Child about Gender

This story was originally published in the Spring 2016 issue of SHE Magazine. 

“Are you having a boy or a girl?”

I wonder how much longer we’ll ask expectant parents this question. Maybe instead we should start asking ourselves why assigning a gender at birth is so important to us.

More and more young people in Canada are starting to express their gender in unique ways that go beyond the masculine/feminine binary.  As parents, it is critical that we respond with love, curiosity, and an open mind.

Effective Empowerment: Strategies for Young Girls with Disabilities

The word ‘empowerment’ has been popular for many years.  In Effective Empowerment: Strategies for Accessible Education, I note that empowerment is “…based on the idea that giving people skills, resources, opportunities, and strategies will enable them to be accountable for their own actions, and will contribute to their independence, competence, and satisfaction.”

When it comes to disabled girls ages 8-12, the challenges they face in reaching empowerment are often the same issues that their non-disabled peers face. However, they also face their own specific hurdles.

5 Ways to Nurture Leadership in Kids

Girls smilingEvery child is a potential leader. Even if they weren’t “born” leaders, they may be taught to become them by parents, teachers and other role models.

Leaders are people who have the ability to empower others to get things done. They inspire other people and set the directions to create something new. It isn’t about being at the top of a hierarchy, but about forging a path forward in collaboration with others.

So what personal qualities and skills could make your kid a great leader? There isn’t an exact answer. It all depends on personality and surroundings. For instance, some children are more confident than others, but that doesn’t make them a leader. As a parent, you play a huge part in helping your child develop the ability to lead.

How to Disregard Criticism by Applying the “Reasonable Man” Test

Woman in blazer standing outsideThis post was originally published by Informed Opinions’.

Celebrated American poet and critic, Ezra Pound, in his considered advice to beginning poets offered the following advice: “Pay no attention to the criticism of men who have never themselves written a notable work.”

But he could have been speaking to female opinionators a century later. So many of the trolls who trash women daring to comment in prominent places “have never themselves written a notable work.”

4 Tips For Self-Care

Women sitting in cafeDid you come back from the holidays feeling like it wasn’t exactly a holiday?

Are you back at work, staring blankly at a mountain of emails in your inbox, realizing that you never actually had time to put your feet up amid the whirlwind of travel plans, family gatherings, and last-minute-gift dashes?

If your own needs tend to fall off of your to-do list, now is a great time to think about self-care. And it’s not about spending hundreds of dollars at a spa or committing to daily meditation—it’s just about setting aside pockets of time for activities that help you unwind and reset.

6 Ways to Raise Confident Girls: Tips from Canadian Women’s Foundation Parents

Girl having fun swinging in the air

This is the fourth post in our  Confidence Stories  series in partnership with Always®. Confidence Stories features stories, tips and ideas for supporting girls and building confidence.

At the Canadian Women’s Foundation, we want every girl to believe in herself and realize she matters. Every day we work to better understand the challenges that girls face and invest in the programs that help girls move into adolescence with confidence.

My work at the Canadian Women’s Foundation gives me a unique advantage as the parent of a 5-year-old girl: I have the ultimate guide to raising girls right at my fingertips! I know that the evidence-based approach to investing in girls’ programs WORKS. I’ve seen the impacts in the research, in the Foundation’s results, and in my daughter. 

Negotiation Skills: What You Need to Succeed

Women in office meetingRegardless of what’s going on in your personal life or what career path you have chosen, there is one skill that all people need to master: negotiating. Skilled negotiators are able to collaboratively solve problems and move ahead in their careers, so why aren’t women engaging in more negotiations? Fear.

According to Salary.com, 55% of women are nervous about entering negotiations, compared to only 39% of men. Women who choose to negotiate are often viewed as difficult to work with, or less feminine than other women who chose to accept what was given to them without making a fuss. Other research has shown that women are viewed this way regardless of whether they entered the negotiation with a smile or aggressive attitude.

7 Ways to Get Heard at Meetings

Miss Triggs CartoonThis post was originally published by Informed Opinions.

You can tell how old this Punch cartoon is by the honorific applied to the sidelined “Miss” Triggs.

But sadly, even though it was first published more than half a century ago, including it in a slide deck in 2016 still elicits the laughter of recognition.

What stops you from speaking up at meetings?

5 Ways to Lead for Change

Woman smilingWhen you think of leaders you admire, what are their qualities? Perhaps they fearlessly speak their minds, or inspire others by setting a powerful example.

The good news is that you can develop these skills on your own. And there’s no need to wait for a promotion at work to get started. Getting involved social change is a fantastic way to practice leadership skills.

How? When it comes to gender equality, we have a few ideas for how you can lead for change:

Not Cut Out for Traditional Leadership? How about Inclusive Leadership?

Young woman in officeDo you do backflips when you hear the word “leadership”?

Does your inner critic tell you you’re just not cut out for it? That you simply don’t have the experience needed and aren’t in any position to tell others what to do?  

But what if being a great leader isn’t about having all the answers or always being in control? What if it’s about listening and collaborating? Working through networks instead of hierarchies?