Female college student needing online counseling for college students with Empower Counseling

Turns out, women are two and a half times less likely to ask questions in academic seminars than men, according to a study from the University of Cambridge.

Researchers observed 250 seminars at 35 schools in 10 countries where the gender ratio was equal, on average. They then asked students about how often they ask questions during educational seminars, talks or presentations and if they didn’t typically speak up in class, why not. When asked why they didn’t ask questions even if they wanted to, women said it was because: 

…they didn’t feel clever enough; they felt nervous; or they were worried that they misunderstood the content.——— Here Comes our not enough creeping in. 

There was a 7.6% increase in the number of questions asked by other females present when another woman asked the question first. (Online counseling for college students with Empower Counseling can help your daughter find her voice.)

This reminds me of an excerpt from Untamed by Glenon Doyle. She has three children….she walked into one of the rooms of her house where several middle school aged kids were hanging out and watching tv. She asked if anyone was hungry. The boys all answered immediately and for themselves. The girls, however, all looked around at each other and then to the leader of the girls to speak for them-she said “No thank you THEY were not hungry”.

So what leads to this common not enough-ness that so many of us women have? That leads us to be nervous or worried about our intellectual abilities and knowledge?

Much of it comes from gender roles and what we are taught it means to be an acceptable female. 

You might have been taught a good girl is…..

  1. Quiet and polite 
  2. Agreeable 
  3. Attractive: Thin, well dressed, make up hair
  4. Caring for others

(Empower Counseling offers online counseling for college students. Empower Counseling uses Acceptance Commitment Therapy to help women gain clarity about their values, which is a crucial step in finding their voices.)

We are rewarded and complimented for behavior in line with these gender ideals, which reinforces our behavior. Whatever our parents, churches, and teachers rewarded and accepted, we wanted to do more of. 

If a parent sees a little girl consoling her teddy bear and says “what a kind girl you are,” this is rewarding for the child and makes it more likely that she will repeat the behavior.  Her behavior has been reinforced (i.e., strengthened).

Children have a number of models with whom they identify. These may be people in their immediate world, such as parents or older siblings, or could be fantasy characters or people in the media. We identify with others who have what we would like to possess.

So if Quiet and polite is good, that means loud and opinionated is bad.

If agreeable is good then confrontational is bad.

If thin, well dressed, with make up and hair done, is good then over weight at all beyond the ideal and our natural selves are bad.

“The perfectionism that we feel in impromptu speaking- raising our hand and answering or asking a question in class is debilitating”. We are afraid that if we speak up we will not be seen as a good girl——or good woman. 

We don’t leave this perfectionism and way of thinking about ourselves behind when we leave school. Oh no, we take it with us out into the world. 

So even though we are born as capable and intelligent as our male counterparts, we are taught in many ways that our intelligence and voice is not what is valuable about us. What is valuable about girls and women is what we look like and how we care for others.

(If your daughter is having trouble finding her voice, reach out to Empower Counseling for online counseling for college students.)

We begin to value in ourselves only what others value within us….and we lose our voices. We stop asking who we are and what we want.  And we lose our voices, never really achieving our roar.

Some research suggests that expectations for the behavior of women have become more flexible as women’s social roles have changed. There are some women in leadership positions who are expected to show assertive behavior. However, in terms of men’s behavior, and women’s behaviors that support heterosexual relationships, expectations still seem quiet gender stereotyped. Empower counseling can help through online counseling for college students in Alabama. 

What can we do to focus on who we are and what we want vs how we look??? 

  1. Uncover exactly what it is we learned that makes a good girl or a good woman. This is about those you loved and looked up to. What did they model for you and what did they teach you with their words. Chances are whatever you learned- you tell yourself if you don’t do that-if you do the opposite of that, you are wrong. This will eat at your self-esteem. This will have you doubting yourself-your ability, your voice.

2.      Choose: Now recognize that you have a choice. Say to yourself….”Self I don’t have to follow these rules if I don’t want to”. Today is the day you can make a conscious decision, if you like the rules, follow them. I’m not here to push an agenda or tell you what top believe or who to be. I’m just here to nudge you to be clear about what you want, rather than you following path that someone else laid out for you. I want to hear you roar. 

3.      Write your own rules. One of My favorite quotes is by Jack Kerouack,  “I discovered my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could right anything I wanted”. 

You get to write your own rules. You get to decide what makes a good woman, what makes a happy you. What do you want to be known for in your life?

The younger we start helping our daughters find their voices the better. I recently had the honor of contributing to Parents Magazine, in the article “8 Little Ways to Encourage Your Child to Speak Their Mind”. 

We can start when our children are toddlers by giving them choices. Start simple. Ask your children, “Would you rather have strawberries, or blueberries?”. This very simple process will help your child learn that she has choices. Learning that we have choices gives us power and combats helplessness. 

Another way to help our daughters find their voices is to avoid labeling them. Slapping a label on a child…”smart one”, “pretty one”, “funny one” can set up expectations a child thinks she must live up to.  Children really hang on to these types of comments by parents and others they look up to, and it greatly limits how children see themselves. Instead, compliment your child for saying something funny, or doing something in a smart way. This leaves the door open for your daughter to see herself as multifaceted. 

If you think your daughter is struggling to find her voice, Empower Counseling in Birmingham can help your daughter gain clarity around what is important to her, raise her self-esteem and self-confidence, and find her voice. I have found Acceptance Commitment Counseling especially helpful for young women in college. Through in person or online counseling for college students, Empower Counseling helps young women become clear of who they are and who they want to become. College is such a difficult transition, so Empower Counseling in Birmingham is here for online counseling for your college student.

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I get it, life can be overwhelming time and things don’t always go exactly how we want them to go. I know this can be difficult, Iso ’m here to help in my Birmingham counseling practice or online. I provide anxiety treatment and depression counseling using the Acceptance Commitment Therapy. To help navigate new challenges and obstacles, I provide resources and help for difficult life transitions. For those of you who are never “off the clock”, I offer counseling for professionals. In addition to counseling for professionals, I offer teen therapy and counseling for young adults . I’m here to help you with whatever you are going through right now.

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