The Importance Of Female Role Models

Growing up, I wanted to be the first female president of the United States. I never understood why I only saw men in this position because I was told that girls can do anything boys can do. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have a woman being successful in this position to inspire me to achieve that goal and I honestly thought that it would simply never be possible. Later in my life, however, I found other female politicians that I looked to for inspiration. This was when I realized just how badly young girls need someone that looks like them to show that you can do anything you want in life. 

In 2016, the election had a large number of women running for all levels of public office. For Congressional races, more women were voted into office that year than any other year in U.S. history. Women then made up 24% of Congress, and this dramatic increase deemed this 2016 “The Year of the Woman.” This was when I started noticing these strong and powerful women achieving their goals and wanted to do the same. In addition to the increase in women, there was an increase in diversity also. Although it is nowhere near the number it needs to be at to accurately represent the population, it is heading in the right direction. Starting to diversify male-dominated fields is the beginning of representing ALL girls in every field. 

The reason why it is so important for young people, especially girls, to have someone to look up to is because it builds ambition in that person and encourages them to achieve dreams. If they see women in STEM, politics, and high-level business positions, they will be more likely to want to achieve the same goals. This gender disparity and lack of visibility of women in fields dominated by men are harmful to the young girls that get asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” The expected answer is always something that follows the gender norm. People are generally surprised if a girl says a firefighter, a scientist, the first female president, or the CEO of a big company. It won’t be as big of a deal if there are female idols that pave the way to show what a strong, independent, and successful woman looks like. 

If we focus on exposing young people to inspirational figures and show them that it is possible to be whatever they want to be, then they can be strong role models. A quote by Nataly Kelly, a writer for Lottie.com, says, “May our daughters see what women can do and the BE the change they want to see in the world. Successful role models give our little girls a brighter future and hope for tomorrow.” There would be a long term change by making female role models more visible. Each generation gets the opportunity to show the next one all the possibilities they can become. It’s simply another way of “girls supporting girls,” just in this way, it is intergenerational and intersectional.