To my daughter, on International Day of the Girl

My daughter, Olivia Tauri.

My daughter, Olivia Tauri.

OPINION: To my daughter,

It's the UN International Day of the Girl. You, of course, have no idea. At almost 11 months old, all you really want to know is what that bit of furniture tastes like and how best to get the shiniest of your brother's toys.

But this day has started me thinking about what the future might look like for you. We have some things on our side. You won't have to fight for your right to go to school, to drive, to vote, to marry whomever you please. But that doesn't mean we're sorted.

Here are just a few of the things I most want for you.

I hope you soundly ignore anyone who tells you that adventure is for boys. 

Michelle Duff: If you stay silent, our girls will think it's their fault
Susan Edmunds: It's time for girls to be cool
Chill out, bros: Women-only 'Wonder Woman' screening isn't a sexist attack on men 

I hope when you go to school your teachers encourage your inquiring science mind as well as your way with words. (You've got three so far, you're on a roll.)

I hope you are happy to wear your swimsuit at the beach every summer - and if you put a t-shirt over the top, it's only to avoid sunburn.

I hope by the time you're going out with your friends as a teenager, the world's accepted that it's violence that needs condemnation, not the clothes choices of the potential victims.

I hope you never wonder: "Did I do something to encourage that?"

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I hope no random stranger ever stops you on the street to tell you you'd be prettier if you smiled. I hope you don't listen when advertisers tell you you must change to be beautiful.

I hope you can become a mother if you want to, when you want to - or live happily without kids if you don't. I hope your partner does his or her share of the load and never refers to it as "helping".

If you have kids, I hope you find a job where your motherhood is a benefit rather than a hindrance to your work.

I hope, if you run a business, you don't need to create a fake male name to get better responses to your emails. 

I hope you feel free to celebrate your Maori culture and insist on the correct - not the "easiest" - pronunciation of your name.

I hope, if you want to become prime minister (no pressure, darling) no one asks how your plans for a family might interfere with that.

I hope, when you're an expert in your field, you never get cut off mid-sentence by a "well, actually..." or a comment about your appearance.

I hope you only ever feel exactly as much guilt as your partner does when your kids go to daycare.

I hope you are paid what you are worth and never a cent less, even if you have different negotiating style to that of your male colleagues.

I hope we can teach you good money habits and you pay attention to things like your KiwiSaver account. You might well have someone to share your life with at 105 (this is the age I assume you'll be getting the pension) but you never know, and I'd hate to think of you being left stranded if a relationship fell apart. 

I hope you're healthy and happy and that, in your lifetime, you see a world in which all little girls can aspire to the same.

 - Stuff


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