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3 Advocacy Tips for Moms of Daughters

I have partnered with GenderAvenger on this sponsored post. All opinions are genuine and mine. For more info see my disclosure policy.

As parents, we are our children’s first and best advocates. There is no one who will have as much vested interest in their well being and success as we do. But learning to advocate doesn’t always come naturally. Especially when you’re raising daughters. In the era of Lily Ledbetter and mansplaining, these 3 advocacy tips for moms will help you raise your voice for your daughters and teach them how to raise their voices for themselves.

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Learn How She Is Smart

We knew pretty early in her life that Alexandra was academically gifted. Finding the right school fit became our primary goal. After skipping kindergarten in the public school system, we moved her to a private school in third grade. It has the academic rigor and small class structure that she needs.

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The transition to middle school this year, however, has been tough. For the first time, her intellect isn’t able to cover for her lack of organization. In a parent advocacy training, I learned about the theory of Multiple Intelligences. It’s one thing to know that your child is smart, gifted, or talented. It’s another to understand exactly how they are smart and what you need to do as a parent to nurture their gifts.

Academically gifted girls are often seen as pushy, rude or aggressive for exhibiting the same behaviors gifted boys are seen as leaders. And that was reinforced when our first parent meeting of middle school featured a panel of students that was 75% male.

Knowing your daughter’s areas of intelligence will guide you in making sure her academic and educational needs are met. Being able to provide specific data to your child’s educators is the best advocacy tool you can have as a parent.

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Alexandra was one of the few girls of color competing across 6 teams. She was the only African-American.

Alexandra is highly logical (number smart) and linguistic (word smart). She excels in mathematics, science, and spelling. We provide that information to her teachers each year. We also discuss it with her. Because she knows her own strengths she shares that with her peers. So math and spelling are the areas she contributes on her Quick Recall Team.

Discover What She Loves

While Olivia is also gifted academically, she really excels in the performing arts. We took her to see her first show at the age of 2 and she has been hooked ever since. Her strong areas of intelligence are interpersonal (connects well to her own feelings), intrapersonal (connects well to the feeling of others), musical (good pitch and rhythm) and bodily-kinesthetic (a great dancer).

We do everything we can to keep her involved in the arts. She takes classes in dance, voice, and acting, performs in local production and we even spent two weeks in New York for a summer intensive in musical theater. But the most important thing we’ve done is to be truthful and honest with her about being an African-American performing artist.

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Olivia and Anika Noni Rose at the Classic Theater Company’s production of Carmen Jones.

While there is no shortage of women in performing arts, there is a shortage of women of color. Color-conscious casting – the practice of filling roles in productions without regard to one’s race or culture – is a fairly new practice.

We have armed her with the knowledge that her “fit for the role” may have nothing to do with her performance. She carried that idea into her performance as Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls, Jr. proving she was the right choice.

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Guys and Dolls is inherently balanced by gender, but Olivia was one of only two girls of color in the cast.

Additionally, the decision makers in entertainment are rarely the faces you see on stage or screen. Female entertainers like Issa Rae and Beyonce earn the innovator and #bosswoman label because they take producing and creative control of their works. We want her to know she can make her own way.

Discover what your daughter truly loves and throw your wholehearted support behind it. In the process make sure she understands the challenges she will face and equip her to face them.

Connect With Advocacy Groups

As I said before, you are your daughter’s first and best advocate. But, sometimes it helps to have a community of support. That’s where organizations like GenderAvenger come into play.

GenderAvenger is a nonpartisan community focused in ensuring the voices of women are always included as a part of public dialogue. Using the GA Tally App helps you record and share the gender balance (or imbalance) you see every day.

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There is a good balance of gender and race within Olivia’s school Beta Club officers.

Using the GA Tally App has helped me be more cognizant of what’s happening in my everyday experiences raising daughters. I’ve been able to bring awareness to my daughters’ educators where they can be more inclusive of female voices.

Download the GA Tally app and start holding decision-makers accountable to include the voices of women, girls, and moms in public dialogue as a norm:

How will you raise your voice for women and girls and teach your daughter to raise hers?

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