The Girl Who Was Raised To Be Perfect.

Written by Mercy Kinyodah

Sources: TedTalks, Reshma Saujani, World Bank Report 2015.

As I watched Reshma Saujani’s Ted Talk, CEO Girls who Code a lot of things she mentioned rang true with me; Ted Talks- Reshma Saujani

  1. Girls are raised to be perfect and boys raised to be brave
  2. Girls with a higher IQ are more likely to give up when faced with life challenges other than the logical/ Intellectual driven challenges.

Perfection is defined as; the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.

It may not come from intentional actions from society but look at magazine covers, TV advertisements, social media advertisements: If a lady is portrayed she has a perfect height, weight, dazzling smile, lovely eyes.

And even those who are not depicted in reference to beauty e.g.  women in power, they are still perfect somehow and if they were to slip up even a bit, the whole world would know and they wouldn’t be easily forgiven.

Let me get back to what this means though for girls and education.

“So many women I talk to tell me that they gravitate towards careers and professions that they know they’re going to be great in, that they know they’re going to be perfect in, and it’s no wonder why. Most girls are taught to avoid risk and failure. We’re taught to smile pretty, play it safe, get all A’s. Boys, on the other hand, are taught to play rough, swing high, crawl to the top of the monkey bars and then just jump off headfirst. And by the time they’re adults, whether they’re negotiating a raise or even asking someone out on a date, they’re habituated to take risk after risk. They’re rewarded for it. It’s often said in Silicon Valley; no one even takes you seriously unless you’ve had two failed start-ups. In other words, we’re raising our girls to be perfect, and we’re raising our boys to be brave.”Reshma Saujani, Girls who Code.

What this means though for a vast majority of girls and women, is in school and even post education, there’s a struggle to be brave and take risks and most will play it safe.

Unemployment among Kenya’s youth is now estimated to stand at 17.3 per cent compared to six per cent for both Uganda and Tanzania. In Kenya 1 out of 20 youths do not have a job whereas in Uganda and Tanzania 1 out of 5 lack a job (World Bank Report 2015)

So there really lies no room for perfection but one must take risks, be brave and pursue the unexpected. It no longer pays to just get by and be an A student.

There is need for outstanding for exceptional, for brave, for seemingly stupid but courageous efforts that then spark a change. Reshma started an organization teaching girls how to code at 20 girls in 2012 and now she has over 40,000 girls this was not a perfect journey but a brave one that has grown exponentially!

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