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Minou: Original Afterward
Society still tells girls they have a choice as to whether or not they will work for pay. Yet:
Women are nine times as likely as men to be single parents
90% of today’s girls will work for pay at some time in their lives
74% of women with children are working or looking for paid work
43% of mother-only families are living in poverty.
   
The beliefs and attitudes of both girls and boys will need to change if they are to be prepared for the new realities of paid work and family roles. With the following suggestions you can act privately and publicly to reduce or eliminate societal barriers to girls’ achievement.
 
Introduce girls to women and men in the world of work in both traditional and nontraditional jobs.

Use the language of skill and success to compliment girls.

Encourage and praise risk-taking in girls and care-taking in boys.

Avoid rescuing girls. Help them become problem solvers.

Watch your language. Watch other people’s. Don’t talk in sex stereotypes. Use gender-neutral labels.

Make high technology relevant and accessible to girls.
  Read what the children are reading. Point out sexist messages/advertising. Write protest letters together.

Watch TV with children: help them analyze what they are seeing.

Try some role reversals at home. Let Dad do the dishes; son bathe the baby; daughter mow the lawn or take out the garbage.

Encourage math competency and mastery in girls. Point out future career benefits.

Sustain high aspirations in early adolescence.

Encourage self-sufficiency by continuously questioning and prodding children to expand their options.
 
You might ask these questions:
Why couldn’t Minou take care of herself in the beginning of the story?
When Minou lived with Madame Violette, what was her job?
Do you think Minou ever thought she would have to take care of herself?
How might Minou have been better prepared to take care of herself when
she was on her own in Paris?
Will someone take care of you when you are grown up?
What is the best way to prepare for a good job so you can take care of
yourself?
What jobs do you think you might like to do when you grow up?


Girls Incorporated, An Action Agenda for Equalizing Girls’ Options and Facts and
Reflections on Careers for Today’s Girls (New York, 1985)


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