Teaching Boys About Women Public Leaders

Following is a guest post from Brigid Avery. Brigid lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is a graduate of Aquinas College and the University of San Diego. She is currently the director of Alumni Engagement at Aquinas College. Brigid contacted us to share her support of Teach a Girl to LeadTM, and we are delighted to share her story. Do you have a great story, too? Tell us how you are educating your kids or your community about women’s public leadership, and we will share with our followers. Thanks, Brigid!

As the mother of two young boys, Emmett (4) and Leo (2), I am usually totally spent by the end of the day. They spend their days fighting bad guys as the moment’s chosen superhero, digging in anything remotely dirty and basically embody the phrase “all boy.” The sigh of relief comes when bath time is complete, their grubby little hands and faces are now sweet and clean, and we settle in for story time, a treasured routine in our home.

One book is surprisingly requested more often than any other book in our extensive library: Grace for President. Grace, a third grader is so upset that there has never been a “girl president” that she decides she would like to be president. The story explains, in a third grade kind of way, the electoral college, campaign promises, gender bias and equality. Not your typical toddler or preschool “boy” book, for sure.

After reading Grace a bajillion times, I can now recite the story from memory, we’ve had to order a replacement copy due to wear and tear, and I even had a Grace doll made for Emmett when he turned 2. I’ve been in contact with the author a couple of times and hopefully an adapted script of the book will make an appearance on the TAG resources page soon!

In the book, Grace listens to her constituents, makes good on her campaign promises, and works really hard. She is an example to every person, man or woman, what political leaders should be. Raising boys to respect women and believe in equality is all about exposure. If they only read books or watch movies where the President is a man, then how could they be expected to know anything different?

Tonight, I asked Emmett, “So, why should girls be President?” And he said, “Because girls make good leaders.” Be still my heart. I think I done good. Seriously though, how great is that?

I went on to tell him that a pretty sweet gig would be to be married to the President when he grows up…the First Gentleman. “You get to live in the White House, pick a few awesome projects to work on, and visit a lot of places.” He responded by saying he wanted to be the blue Ninja Turtle when he grows up. And handed me a Star Wars book to read next. Progress.