The gender stereotypes introduced in childhood are reinforced throughout our lives and become self-fulfilling prophecies. Most leadership positions are held by men, so women don't expect to achieve them, and that becomes one of the reasons they don't. - Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
It’s likely that your daughter will know that her Apple Macbook was created by the entrepreneurial genius, Steve Jobs. But does she know that the world's first computer programmer was a woman named Ada Lovelace? Ada was a visionary mathematician and created opportunities that were denied to most women in the 1840s.
Your daughter will know who Mark Zuckerberg is, but how about his COO? Sheryl Sandberg has shaped Facebook and is a huge advocate of diversity and women in leadership. She has pushed for gender equity and the results speak for themselves. Facebook acquired Instagram for $1bn 6 years ago, today it’s worth $100bn.
At only 13 years old, YouTube has revolutionised how your daughter consumes popular culture. YouTube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, proves the impact women CEOs have on diversity- every third YouTube employee is a woman. Susan is a role model for working mothers. She is an advocate of paid parental leave as a tool to increase the number of women in the workforce.
When we increased our maternity leave to 18 weeks, we saw the number of women who left Google cut by 50%.
It’s possible your daughter has sold clothes on eBay. Does she realise that Meg Whitman grew eBay from $5.7 million to $8 billion in sales when she was CEO between 1998 and 2008? The Harvard Business Review named Meg the eighth-best-performing CEO of the past decade and the Financial Times named her as one of the 50 faces that shaped the decade.
We need a talented pipeline of young women who are excited by the prospect of working with technology. We need to communicate the incredibly diverse range of roles within the industry and the powerful women who are doing them.
Our female role models do exist, we just don’t hear enough about them.
What you can do for your daughter
It is essential that we highlight women who impact our everyday lives and direct our futures.
For your teenager & young professional: give them Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In. Sheryl encourages you to answer the question: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”.
For your child: give them Robotics Engineer Barbie. Only 24% of STEM jobs are held by women so this new Barbie is the perfect role model.
Explore more fun STEM activities for you daughter
About the author
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