MADE Magazine Spring 2019 May 2019 - Page 14

MADETOLEAD MADEXXX S T R O N G W O M E N C R E AT E STRONG GIRLS THE POWER OF ROLE MODELS S ociety is in a state where there seem to be fault lines across just about any and all social groups. It is vital that young children and today’s youth of all race, color and creed, have a positive role model to guide them. By definition, a role model is a person whose behavior, example or success can be emulated by others especially by younger people. Role models are especially important for young girls, and young black girls who history has provided with less women to look up to. Despite the strides women have made through the women’s suffrage movement, they still struggle to have their voices be heard in areas that have traditionally been male dominated such as the board room, politics, and just about any position of power. Young girls grow into strong women with the help and support of positive role models, which are not always easy to find in underserved communities. Through the influence of role models, females of all ages shape their own potential and confidence by looking to women in their lives that have traveled tough paths before them. It is hard for these young girls to MADE BY THERESA SIAW imagine being something they have never been able to look at before. In neighborhoods that are known for chronic poverty, crime and a lack of resources to all youth, there is a much greater chance and risk of poor outcomes for those children. According to research done by Urban Institute, females that grow up in these types of neighborhoods face gender specific risks from sexual harassment, exploitation, pressure and sexual violence. While role models in these types of communities may not be easily found in plain sight, they are always there. Some simple ways for members of these communities to locate and identify them is to ask other women about their lives and work, whether it be a teacher, shop owner, or whomever it may be. They likely have an inspirational journey to encourage staying strong and following one’s dreams. With proper role models, these girls are able to | 14