Earlier today I read this wonderful letter from Whinge Whinge Wine to her daughter for International Women’s Day. It inspired me to write my own, not just because it is International Women’s Day but because it is also the day that we found out that a baby boy is joining the family ranks in July. So here it is, a letter to my daughter.
“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”
Today, on International Women’s Day, it was confirmed you were getting a little brother. I know you were hoping for a sister and perhaps it would have been more poetic if it had been but actually I think it’s kind of perfect we found this out today. Because for me whilst today is a celebration of women’s often overlooked achievements, both extraordinary and every day, it is a celebration for and by all. Men and women.
I’ve been lucky that all my life I have been surrounded by supportive, encouraging and amazing men. Of course, there have been liars and buffoons and downright dickheads, but those that matter – my grandads, dad, brothers, uncles and husband – stand beside me every day. And today we found out that we will continue this in our little family and that we will raise another champion and friend of women.
I say ‘we’ because we will do it together. Of course I’ll be the one to tell him that cars and trains and rockets aren’t ‘just for boys’ and I’ll be the one to point out the subtle reinforcement of gender stereotypes that exist in advertising and I’ll be the one to embarrass him by explaining how pornography is not a realistic portrayal of sex. But you will show him.
Oh and how you will show him my magnificent girl.
You will show him that girls can be loud and thoughtful, stubborn and compassionate, silly and insightful, beautiful and downright disgusting. And you show him that you can be all those things wearing a princess dress or dungarees or football kit or my sparkly high heeled shoes or wearing all those things at the same time or wearing none of them but instead sat complete starkers in the back yard surrounded by glitter from god knows where.
Everyone your little brother meets will help shape him into the man he becomes but it gives me such hope that the first woman he will truly look up to will be you. You will show him what it is to be and to love a strong, independent woman because you will be one and I am so incredibly proud that I can see that woman already emerging.
Who runs the world? You both will and you will do it standing side-by-side.