- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (March 6, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060197714
- ISBN-13: 978-0060197711
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,905,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Strong, Smart, and Bold: Empowering Girls for Life Hardcover – March 6, 2001
"The Silent Patient" by Alex Michaelides
"That rarest of beasts: the perfect thriller." ―A.J. Finn Pre-order today
Numerous books are available that discuss statistics on the changes young women go through between ages 8 and 14. New educational programs and new opportunities for girls in sports are just a couple of positive changes that have resulted from such titles as Reviving Ophelia and In a Different Voice. If you're wondering how to put these theories into practice, Strong, Smart, and Bold is the book you're looking for; here you'll find a wealth of specific suggestions based around "The Girls' Bill of Rights". Start with evaluating what chores your daughter is responsible for around the home--do they fall under traditional "female" responsibilities like doing the dishes, cooking, and laundry? It may be time to turn the tables and get her started on chopping wood, mowing the lawn, or computer hardware installation. One practical idea is sponsoring a "Girls Under the Hood" program for your daughter and her friends--shouldn't every driver know how to check tire pressure, change the oil, and refill the fluids? Some suggestions are more about opening up communication, and use open-ended questions like "When do you feel safe?" and "How do you feel about your looks?" There are also many opportunities for mothers to ask similar questions of themselves--do you remember what strange fashions your friends liked when you were a teen? These may be some of the most important questions in the book, as according to nationally sponsored essay contests, "99 percent of girls chose their mother as the person they admire most in their lives because of the advice they've been given by her." --Jill Lightner
From Library Journal
Based on the principles and programs of Girls Inc. (formerly Girls Clubs), Strong, Smart, & Bold provides relevant advice to those who are parenting the 36 million girls of school age in America. Girls Inc. is a national advocacy organization for girls between the ages of six and 18. The title is the motto of Girls Inc., and each chapter is based on one of the principles of the Girls Inc. Bill of Rights: freedom from gender stereotypes and freedom of expression, and the rights to take risks, appreciate their bodies, have confidence, and prepare for work. Many practical exercises are offered to parents and mentors for advancing these ideas, and examples are used throughout, making the text very readable. Because of its exclusive focus on school-age girls, this book fills a niche in the market of parenting books. Appendixes offer resources, web sites, and references. Actress/producer Jane Fonda, chair of the Girls Inc. Rights Campaign, offers a stirring foreword. Recommended. Kay Brodie, Chesapeake Coll., Wye Mills, MD
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Give this book to parents when their daughters are born.
The foreword by Ms. Jane Fonda particularly moved me. She describes how she went from being a person with strong ambitions to a teenager who was timid and concerned about how others would see her. For many years, her "inner voice" was lost, and she finds herself only recapturing it in her sixties.
The model of this book is to have girls know their rights as people and to be advocates of those rights for herself and others. Girls Inc. was founded in 1945 and has done good work in helping establish equal opportunity by gender.
The organization has established a bill of rights for girls that includes the right to:
-- "be themselves and to resist gender stereotypes"
-- "express themselves with originality and enthusiasm"
-- "take roles, to strive freely, and to take pride in success"
-- "accept and appreciate their bodies"
-- "have confidence in their selves and to be safe in the world"
-- "prepare for interesting work and economic independence."
Many people would agree that these are worthy goals. What I liked was that the book reported about research that Girls Inc. has conducted to find out how parents can help.
As you may have guessed, girls look to their Moms to lead the way. In a recent survey, 99 percent replied that Mom was their heroine and guide to planning their own lives. By describing her own life choices at the same age, Mom can help make these transitions more understandable and positive.
Further, Mom and Dad can work together to emphasize filling in experiences and knowledge that girls might not otherwise get. Why shouldn't girls find out how cars work? Sons will often benefit from the same instruction. I know I would have.
Unlike many books and research on gender issues, this book does not try to make males out as the villain of the problem. Instead, the book emphasizes how girls can become more knowledgeable, confident, and able to take care of themselves. I was especially impressed with the section called "My Future."
After you read and discuss this book, I suggest that you think back to where you lacked support (whether you were a girl or a boy) as a youngster. Will your children have the same issues? If so, how can you help them have better choices and capabilities? What other issues will your children have that you did not? How can you help with those?
Give your children the benefit of thinking through their lives carefully and knowledgeably . . . with as few limits as possible!
Because the book is based on the experiences of Girls Inc. it contains lots and lots of examples and quotes, from actual women and girls. The discussions and exercises are broken up into six chapters and a conclusion: Raising a Girl Who Knows Her Rights, Resisting Gender Stereotypes, Speaking Freely and Openly, Taking Risks and Achieving Goals, Accepting and Appreciating One's Body, Being Confident and Safe, and Preparing for Economic Independence and Crating an Equitable Society. The structure of the book is based on the Girls Inc. Girls' Bill of Rights: "A girl has the right to be herself and to resist gender stereotypes; a girl has the right to express herself with originality and enthusiasm; a girl has the right to take risks, to strive freely, and to take pride in success; a girl has the right to accept and appreciate her body; a girl has the right to have confidence in herself and to be safe in thee world; a girl has the right to prepare for interesting work and economic independence."
"Strong, Smart and Bold" also has some shortcomings. It's implicitly written for adult women, which is fine, but unacknowledged. Many exercises ask a woman to reflect on her own girlhood. It would be nice if there were resources that helped men be allies to girls too, but you won't find that in this book. Though girls are encouraged to express how they feel and what they think, which allows for a lot of diversity, there is zero discussion of different gender identities among people who are labeled as girls, which I, as a gender nonstandard person found a bit frustrating. Additionally, I found the discussion of boundaries and limit setting to be a bit difficult, though I understood why the book hammered on the needs of effective limit setting for girls with such force. Also, while the book holds and explores some basic feminist assumptions -- mainly the inherent dignity and right to empowerment of girls and women -- it fails to explore some related topics very deeply. "Alternative" family structures and community arrangements are given a general favorable nod, but most examples are still based on women who are single or paired with one male partner and living in fairly conventional suburban or urban single-family residences. Girls of many different races are included (in fact the "clientèle" Girls Inc. serves is vary racially diverse) but the topic of race, class and cultural assumptions are not really explored. Likewise, the chapter on economic independence doesn't question the underlying notions of work, monetary success, not to mention capitalism, which seems a shame, especially given the changing times in which we live. This is probably my radical feminist education showing, and your mileage may vary, but, for me, the lack of exploration of these topics was a bit stifling.
Still, I definitely recommend this book as a resource, and think it would support and benefit any parent or concerned adult who wants to help their girl grow up to be well-rounded, confident and successful. My favorite quotes from the book:
A girl who has complete access to her rights is empowered, not limited, by the fact that she is female.
Our challenge is to help a girl set higher expectations for herself yet still capture her imagination about being female.
The best way to inspire a girl to be strong, smart and bold is to help her think through her options and decide what she wants. Our investment is in making sure that when a girl runs up against the status quo and is told "Girls can't do that" or "Women aren't built for that" she will come back with, "Oh yeah?" and then do it anyway--her way.