What you’re doing helps your daughter become a strong, confident and kick-ass woman who’s ready to take on the world.


To some, the term “feminist” evokes negative visions of “bra-burning” females. Yet, Oxford Dictionary defines “feminism” as taking action to make equality of the sexes a reality.

While gender bias and discrimination still exist today, celebrity dads of daughters like Channing Tatum and Ryan Reynolds have shone the spotlight on what it means to be feminist dad.

Of course, former US President Barack Obama is arguably the most notable feminist dad of all. He even penned an essay on feminism and said it’s absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism. He wrote in Glamour magazine, “We need to keep changing the attitude that teaches men to feel threatened by the presence and success of women.”

As fathers, you are duty bound to help your daughters realise their fullest potential. And as a feminist dad, you’re showing your sons exactly how to respect and treat women.

Teaching her to think and make responsible decisions on her own ensures that she becomes a resourceful individual, not a damsel in distress.

Incidentally, being a feminist father may not come naturally to you. Even Obama admitted that he became more aware of gender disparities and injustices because he has two girls. Indeed, becoming a father who believes that women should have equal rights and opportunities as men is often a learned experience. So, what makes you one?

1) Tell your daughter she’s capable of achieving things, like everyone else A fulfilling life for your princess isn’t about waiting for a guy to gallop up and sweep her off her feet. But rather, inspiring her to work hard for what she desires and deserves enables her to achieve her own goals. And when she does, don’t demean her achievements by comparing it to her brother or someone else’s — celebrate it and give her credit where it’s due. This same rule applies to your wife: Her achievements — personal and professional — are as important as yours.

2) You don’t mind having “tea” with your daughter’s stuffed animals Even if it means putting on purple eyeshadow, pink nail polish, and slapping on a tiara, you’re more than happy to be her playmate of choice. And while you’re at it, mummy will snap a gazillion photos and you couldn’t care less about where the pictures end up.

3) You boost your daughter’s independence by actually giving her independence Review your actions and see if you’re overprotecting your daughter or mollycoddling her because she’s a girl. For instance, not letting her stay out too late because she’s a girl. Teaching her to think and make responsible decisions on her own ensures that she becomes a resourceful individual, not a damsel in distress. Remember, your daughter’s never going to learn how to fend for herself if she’s denied the chance to make simple decisions on her own.


4) Teaching your daughter about sports whenever she asks You’ll also consent when she wants to learn a physically rough and competitive sport — even offering to hit the gym with her. Football isn’t a man’s game and neither is rugby, mixed martial arts nor dragon boating. You’ll give your mini-female warrior whatever she needs to grow up to be as tough, resilient and physically fit as your son.

5) Tell her everything she wants to know about maths and science You believe that girls do as well as well as their male counterparts in science, technology, engineering and maths industries. If your daughter enthusiastically asks questions about the different parts of a vehicle or gadget, show her what it’s all about. When she offers to install a book shelf with you, get the tools out and work as a team.

Instead of always appearing as strong or tough as nails, you’re not afraid to let your child see you shed a tear or get upset.

6) Make sure she knows only she has full control of her body No one can force her to do the things she doesn’t want to do. It’s also your duty to make sure she knows all about sexual consent ― teach her that she has total control over what other people do to her.

7) You don’t shy away from displaying your emotions Instead of always appearing strong or tough as nails, you’re not afraid to let your child see you shed a tear or get upset. You’re also teaching your kiddo — especially boys — that it’s okay to feel hurt or unhappy sometimes, what matters is knowing how to deal with it!

8) You tackle your share of the chores Nor does it matter what needs to be done because there’s no such thing as men’s chores or women’s chores. You tend to the plants, wash the floor or cook dinner, just as how your wife washes the family car and fixes lightbulbs. This way, junior will see that you and mum are equals. Your daughters will, in turn, learn what a supportive husband is like.

9) You teach your son what good guys are like Being a feminist father doesn’t mean just minding what you do with your daughter, it’s also about teaching your son how to treat women respectfully. Help junior understand that it’s healthy to express his emotions in a positive way, such as knowing how to manage his anger instead of hurting someone. Your son also needs to know what sexual consent entails and that he is responsible for his words and actions.

Photos: iStock

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