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How to Support the Twenty-First Century Girl

International Women’s Day is coming up on March 8th and while we’re celebrating the achievements of women let’s talk about five empowering lessons that we’d like to share in order to build a better girl world!

The importance of setting boundaries

As women there is this expectation to be kind and generous and it often leaves us feeling shortchanged. Setting boundaries is definitely a hard lesson to learn when you’ve grown up thinking that girls need to be helpful and selfless in order to be respected. Reciprocity is key to any friendship, partnership and professional relationship. Talk to her about saying no or putting techniques in place to acknowledge her limits and ensure self-care. Coming up with an exit strategy definitely makes things easier and you won’t be overcome with guilt or feel stuck!

Talk to her about finances

And not in a blasé kind of way – get down to the nitty gritty! Educating women about their finances is one of the most powerful ways to give them a sense of freedom and security. If you don’t feel comfortable providing this type of advice, then encourage her to seek out someone who does. As students there are tons of free resources at our disposal. We have a Dollars and Sense: Money Management program right here at Laurier that teaches you about all things budgeting, credit and savings.

Having healthcare professionals that you can trust

Sadly, another place that women don’t feel heard or safe is at the doctors. It’s important to talk to her about building a deeper bench of health care professionals that make her feel comfortable and support her wellness goals. Take this one step further by encouraging her to get a second opinion if the first try isn’t the right fit.

Asking for feedback

Last year I attended this conference called Empowered, which was about providing women with the tools for success in the workplace. What we ended up figuring out was that one of the main reasons why women do not advance up the professional ladder as fast as men is because they don’t ask for feedback. While this is prudent advice to apply while on the job, consider the areas that are most applicable to her life. Asking your professor for feedback on a midterm can even be a great place to start!

Worry about making yourself happy first

It’s not a competition and you don’t have to have it all figured out. This lesson circles back to being your biggest critic and it has a way of manifesting in all different shapes and forms. Whether you struggle with bending over backwards for others, making comparisons between yourself and a best friend or just plain jealousy, learn how to address what’s eating you up and LET IT GO. Just know that if you’re happy then the people you love will be happy and learn to stand by your choices.

So, whether this advice applies to you, a friend or a sister think about seeking out support and loving yourself and your girl gang a little extra this year!

Alexandra Geitz

Wilfrid Laurier '20

Alex is a third-year English and Communication Studies major and writer for HCWLU. You can usually find her avoiding a large TBR pile of academic journals wishing she was at the beach reading fiction instead!
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