By Dr. Jean Kim, LYP Program Co-Founder
I have an elementary school aged niece, who is the apple of my eye. She is smart, courageous, self-motivated, and still maintains the innocence of a child. I often joke that when I grow up, I want to be just like her. (But seriously, she is a rock star!)
A few days ago, my sister told me that she shared with my niece the recent speech that AOC gave after she was called a “fXXXin bitch” by her fellow congressman. My sister explained the context behind the speech, to which my niece responded “SIGH… you think the world has changed a lot and things like this still happen.”
When I first heard this, I was simply impressed by my niece’s mature comment, which of course added to my already overflowing adoration of her. But over the next few days, her comments kept coming back to me. I was saddened by the truth of her observations about the world, but more so than that, it sparked a stronger motivation in me to continue what I do at LYP with even more passion, determination, and focus.
I want my niece to grow up in a world where she sees an abundance of strong women leaders, a world where she not only sees #womensupportingwomen but also #mensupportingwomen. To do that, I know my role within LYP is to make sure our three pillars of Clarity, Confidence, and Community continue to be at the core of all that we do. But outside of LYP, I think of my role as a mom that is raising a young son. I must raise him to not only respect women but also be an active advocate for gender equality; someone who is well-aware that there are privileges in this world that he will enjoy simply because he is a man and actively contribute to changing that status quo. It will likely be one of the most thought-required and important responsibilities I have as a parent. And I hope the small role I play will make a difference in the world that my niece will live in when it’s her time to lead.
A side note: When I saw the picture of this little girl painting, I wondered what kind of world my niece would paint for herself. It inspired me to write this post as I hope the world she paints and ultimately grows up in, will be one of gender equality and one where women will no longer have to experience bullying and abuse from men.
PS: I want to make it clear that I know there are MANY decent men in this world, including my own partner, members of my family, and those in my network of friends/colleagues. I am very grateful to have them in my life to be role models for my little boy, and I have no doubt they are playing their part to demonstrate that #StrongMenSupportStrongWomen.