10 Lessons on Feminism I've Learned From (and for) My Daughters

Becoming a mom to daughters has turned me into the mama bear of intolerance towards intolerance.

Teaching feminism to our daughters

Becoming the mom of two daughters has reignited a resilient sense of feminism in me. I’ve been lucky to be surrounded and inspired by many amazing, strong, and incredibly powerful women, not only for the careers that they have chosen, but for the way that they’ve opted to live their lives; not the least of which was my own mother.

My list of learnings grows with every passing day, and I keep it close to my heart. Here's what my daughter have inspired in me, and what I will pass on: 

1. Women are fierce. Surround yourself with women who lift you up, and you will learn some of life’s best lessons.

2. Don’t let decisions be guided by fear. You can do this - whatever it is.

3. It’s ok to like fashion and makeup and feeling good on the outside, as long as it’s for you and not because it’s what’s expected of you.

4. Stand up to men who tell you that you should smile more, or dress “like this” more often. Your smiles, your clothes, your body… none of that defines you or what you’re capable of. And when a man makes a sexist remark or joke, teach him why that’s just not ok.

5. Sexism is all around, and we’re the ones driving it. So, don’t indulge in that television show, that book, that trend or that concept that doesn’t fit your ideal of what a woman is. Maybe, one day, we can effect change with our behaviours.

6. In attempting to exert your power or your confidence, don’t try to be like someone else. Power and confidence come is all shapes, sizes, colours and genders.

7. Do speak up. That meeting, that conversation, and that project will be better if you inject yourself in it.

8. There is no such thing as “leaning in.” You do you. You can’t have it all. If what you want is a garden, homemade meals every meal, and to be with your kids, that’s okay. And if what you want is a career, that’s okay too. Trying to juggle it all will kill you. Pick what’s most important for you and forget the rest.

9. We can make this world a better place for our daughters. First and foremost by teaching our girls to develop a true sense of self, but also by teaching our boys that it’s empowering to respect, be vulnerable and be sensitive.

10. There are girls and women around the world who do not have the fundamental rights that we enjoy . We have a duty, a responsibility to our global community, to speak for them when they’re not allowed to. Share their stories, talk about them, and make sure they’re heard, however you can.

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Isabelle Robillard is a mom of toddler twin girls, passionate communicator, writer and closeted nerd. With a functional addiction to documentary films and an penchant for science and science communications, she is an endless resource of mostly useless and sometimes interesting information. She believes that with the gift of writing comes the responsibility to speak to what she knows, and stick to the evidence. In the interest of seizing the day, she is slowly scratching things off her bucket list, most recently by taking up speed skating and cycling.