Article by Melissa BuchPosted

As a millennial mom of a seven year-old girl, I get anxious thinking that my daughter might one day choose to not have a career. I make it a priority to empower her, to lead by example and make sure she can achieve her dreams. But I’ve come to understand that these aspirations can limit her free will and definition of herself as a woman.

I find myself wondering if, in our struggle for equity, we should have fought for freedom of choice rather than equality to men. 

Are we pressuring some young women down a path they may not want, and simply replacing one expectation with another?

After reading widely and discussing female empowerment with family and friends, I came across the #TradWives and #StayAtHomeGirlfriends trends. These are terms for women who reinvindicate their role at home as a choice and path to happiness.

While this lifestyle choice is perfectly valid when made with freedom and autonomy, the concept of choice itself is directly linked to socioeconomic status and culture, and countless other women don’t have the opportunity to ‘walk away’ and make their own decisions. And the dark side of this traditional role popularization is that #TradWives influencers can, and are, used as right-wing propaganda in countries and cultures where women have fewer rights. Which can create even more inequalities by denying some women and girls the future they deserve.

So here I am, a successful working mother wondering how much freedom I should give my daughter to come up with her own definition of an empowered woman - as opposed to dictating mine. Should I be fighting for her to choose her own priorities, even if this means she doesn’t prioritize work? Should I help her understand that her freedom of choice is the result of the battles women have fought, and still fight today? 

What if the whole point of my generation's struggle was for her to grow up feeling like she doesn’t have to adopt any particular role?

Even though I get anxious at the thought of her choosing a non-professional path, more than anything I want her to feel free. And for that, I may have to let go of my fight, so she can choose hers.

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Article by Melissa Buch

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