I had the privilege of working with 40 girls at the Women of the World Festival during two workshops this past weekend. Each girl had her own unique personality and ambitions but all shared one thing in common: they were all experts on what it’s like to be a girl growing up in Baltimore. The workshop, much like the festival itself, was aimed at celebrating why being a girl is cool — and empowering women of all ages.

I started each workshop by asking girls to tell us about the ‘perfect girl.’ Both groups answered similarly:

She has perfect hair. Great clothes, She’s pretty. She has lots of friends. Everyone wants to be her. 

Then I asked them about the women in their lives that they admire. I said the women could be real or fictional, but almost every girl talked about women they knew. Mostly their moms, friends, and aunts.  A few mentioned celebrities. More than one mentioned Hermione in Harry Potter.

What Kind of Woman Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? - (cool) progeny

I asked what was it about these women that they admired? Their answers:

Strong. Brave. Adventurous. Intelligent. Compassionate. Helpful. Kind. Empathetic. Generous. Leader. Patient.

Notice a disconnect? They did, too.

We talked about how messages from the media and society bombard us every day with what perfection looks like; but when we really examine what we admire in others, we look for very different traits. It’s those characteristics that make women — and girls — shine.

I asked each girl about the kind of woman they want to be when they grow up. Thought you might like to see, too.


Photos by Ružica Puśkaś-ragontse, Red Rose Photography