How to raise free daughters

American Association of University Women

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) identified that girls' confidence falls 3.5 times more than boys’ during adolescence, due to great self-demand and a deep feeling of being "insufficient and inadequate". That is why working with them at this stage is crucial, so that they feel safe to share their opinion, know how to set limits on what may hurt them, recognize themselves valuable regardless of beauty standards and value all their strengths. There are new challenges today that surpass many mothers and fathers; many of them see the challenges and risks that women face and they are afraid that their daughters may get hurt. Access to social media and a large amount of information adds vulnerability to the identity development process of young women. The best they can do is NOT shield them, that would prevent them from growing, the best inheritance they can give them is to strengthen them with practical tools, while they also guide and accompany parents so that they feel safe and calm that they are doing great work with them.

Naidel Ardila, is a Mexican woman, who studied a master in Humanist Education from the Humanist Institute of Gestalt Psychotherapy and a Bachelor of Marketing from the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico. She has a specialty in women's leadership from the Coady Institute of Canada and in labor equity from the Universidad Iberoamericana. For more than 13 years, she has worked to promote the fulfillment of human rights collaborating with UNICEF, Save the Children, DIF, World Vision, INJUVE, Google, Tec de Monterrey, Pfizer, Random House Mondadori, Ferrero Mexico, Comercial Mexicana, NH Hotels, Mision Hotels, among others. She launched a book recently titled "Educate for human greatness" which seeks to be a guide for all those who wish to transform the world into one that is more equitable.  Naidel has received national, regional and international awards from institutions such as UNICEF, Tec de Monterrey, and the Foresight Institute.

She has created the Organization Mujeres Poderosas to provide women and teens with information and tools to deconstruct the internalized ideas of self-devaluation that is paid as a tax from growing up in a sexist society. With her conferences and programs, what she is looking for is to encourage and inspire women to dilute the internal barriers that move them away from building the life they want and deserve.  The organization started with its first group in Palenque’s jungle in Chiapas 5 years ago, were indigenous, and European women participated. Today she has a great diversity of participants from different cities, professions, and backgrounds.  As time went by, she learned more about this social phenomenon and identified that the two key moments that exponentiation the development of powerful women are during her adolescence and early childhood. So she decided to focus all her efforts on these two programs:

"Access to social media and a large amount of information adds vulnerability to the identity development process of young women"
  1. Teenagers Program #FreeGrils
  2. Virtual School for Parenting #FreeGrils

The website of Mujeres Poderosas (Powerful women) offers courses, conferences, articles, for example throughout 12 sessions, Naidel works with young girls so they:

  • Trust their strengths and know how to use them in their favor
  • Know how to build healthy-equitable relationships and get out of the toxic ones
  • Act to fulfill their dreams, taking smart risks
  • Know how to create a loving bond with her while she practices self-care
  • Know how to express her identity by being true to yourself
  • Trust her judgment and set limits on who can hurt her
  • Act against any possible form of devaluation or violence towards her

A key part of the program happens when they put into practice everything learned in a closing session where they will lead activities in favor of more vulnerable girls.  In parallel, parents receive guidance through her virtual school. Where she supports them so they could build more empathic and intimate ties with their daughter and know what to do in the face of the challenges. Recently the Foresight Institute in London, England, recognized its virtual school for raising free girls as a futuristic project that will transform the lives of girls and women in Latin America.

The 7-step online course to raise a free girl has more than 70 video classes, interviews with specialists, testimonies of girls and adolescents, multimedia material and activities to be carried out between parents and daughters to strengthen empathic and close ties. The course includes the following 8 modules:

To get started

In this module, we answer the following questions: What do we educate for? How can we achieve a freer path for girls? Did we learn to be women or did biology determine it? How is it that before the age of eight I already Did you teach what defines me as a child? Why do you think that "being a girl I can't ..."?

STEP 1 Show you the keys to trust yourself

We will share what is the trust gap in girls, what is the formula to strengthen their confidence, how to strengthen confidence in taking risks and the importance of girls learning to be wrong.

STEP 2 Encourage her to be authentic

After taking this module, valuable tools are obtained to know how to teach girls to 1. say goodbye to perfectionism, 2. know what they need and what is best for them, 3. transform self-criticism into self-esteem, 4. be brave to change course if they wish.

STEP 3 Teach you how to take care of yourself

As it is that self-care is a topic of great importance to teach girls and adolescents, how to make them strong from their thoughts, how to detect what hurts them and what hurts them. We will also talk about how to transform the load we usually place on the image of your body.

STEP 4 Invite her to always find the paths

Throughout this module, we will share what prevents girls and adolescents from assuming leadership roles, how to encourage them to be leaders, how to teach them to communicate peacefully what they need from other people and how to speak with confidence, say "Yes, without fear" and "No, without guilt."

STEP 5 Encourage her to build supportive relationships with other girls

We will share how to teach girls to build relationships of trust and support with other girls, namely to detect their true friends and how to get out of toxic relationships.

STEP 6 Build an environment that promotes your freedom

In this module we will review what aspects of the lives of girls and adolescents, we need to monitor for adults, to ensure their freedom.

STEP 7 Be a source of inspiration for her

We want to free you from the social burden of being perfect mothers or fathers, so you can understand what are the keys that will make you an example that truly inspires you.

"If we want to see more women as CEOs and Vice Presidents of large corporations, we need to work with them for a long time before; strengthening them in adolescence and creating a cultural transformation from the education we impart in their first years of life"

Those who take this course, see 6 benefits in their daughters:

  1. They make decisions more clearly than they want, they are brave and strong to defend their dreams and ideals.
  2. They recognize their abilities which makes them feel safer to achieve what they want and achieve their goals.
  3. They tell about the resources and strengths they have to face the challenges and/or adversities.
  4. They feel proud of themselves and more confident about being who they want to be.
  5. They put limits on anyone who can hurt her.
  6. They discover how to create support networks with other girls and women, so that they all drive to achieve their dreams.

This course was built after working with more than 7,000 girls and adolescents and conducting academic research that showed her the main challenges facing girls today, as well as practical and simple strategies to strengthen them in their day to today. The first thing we as a society need is to recognize that there is a global problem of inequality in the world and that has deep implications in the social, political and economic spheres of all countries. Also, each one of us has to recognize the co-responsibility that we have so we can change it. If we want to see more women as CEOs and Vice Presidents of large corporations, we need to work with them for a long time before; strengthening them in adolescence and creating a cultural transformation from the education we impart in their first years of life.

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