Should we be teaching our daughters to be powerful?

I think 100% yes we need to. If we want to raise girls who fully achieve their potential and feel unstoppable, knowing they have power is surely important. But then again I guess it depends on how you view power.

Like Comment

For me, power is knowing you are at choice, you alone are 100% responsible for your life and you can do anything you want to. Of course I want my daughters to feel that.

But the word power gets a bad reputation, often being associated with bullish behaviour and power over another, which is a less than desirable trait for our daughters.

I recently asked a question to lots of women “What do you think it means to be a Powerful Woman?

And I got a lot of varied answers, from comfortable in your own skin, gaining respect and having freedom, they all pretty much lined up with my view of power except one, which I have to say stunned me somewhat.

  The same as it means to be a powerful man. Powerful women are women who have literal power, e.g. in politics or business. It's not just about confidence - that's a lie used in cosmetics adverts. We don't call men powerful just because they're confident. We call men powerful when they're wealthy, influential and dominating. People are powerful when they have material power to change things or control things, not just in their own life but in other people's lives. E.g. an employer has power but a secretary doesn't, no matter how confident and "empowered" that secretary considers herself to be.

Now while it initially made me almost fall off my chair I think it shows perhaps the true feelings that some women hold about the word power. If I am powerful I will be mean and no one will like me, and who would want that?

Perhaps it is time to redefine the word power and claim the female elements of it, or do we need to replace the word all together in favour of another? Does the word have so many male connotations with it that we need a new one?

Or maybe we need to stop seeing powerful women as divas, as bitches, as chicks with attitude and just start calling it what it is - a women standing in her power.

I have always asked myself this question - would a man feel bad doing this or would people criticise a man if he had done this? Often the answer is no.  If we wouldn’t criticise a man for doing it then why should we have a go at a women?

It really is food for thought isn’t it?

So how do you associate with the word power? Do you see yourself as a powerful woman? How do you feel teaching your daughters to be powerful? 

Lets continue the conversation

Sarah Newton

Author, Speaker and Youth Coach

Sarah Newton has shared her innovative wisdom with millions who have tuned into her TV and Radio shows, followed her writing and listened to her unconventional talks. She has been described as a catalyst, daring all she meets to break out from social norms and follow their own path. She has worked in youth empowerment for over 30 years, first as a police officer and then eventually running her own business, via a stint at Disney World in Florida. Sarah has a no-nonsense, down-to-earth approach to solving most youth-associated problems, based on tactics that work, not rhetoric out of a book. She often is the only one in the room to stand by her viewpoint and tends to think the opposite from everyone else. Star of ITV’s “My Teen’s A Nightmare, I’m Moving Out” and author of “Help! My Teenager is an Alien – the everyday situation guide for parents”, Sarah has just teamed up with her daughter to write a novel to help girls with their body image issues, she has also written for The Guardian, The Huffington Post and the Daily Mail. Sarah also sits on the UK board of the Arbonne Charitable Foundation and is an ambassador for Girls Out Loud.