#5 Parent's Prefer: Girl or Boy?

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Do parents have a bias, a secret preference for a girl or a boy?  

c: Today we met some powerful women who are moving the world through entrepreneurship and as business leaders.  They are the tipping point for women having economic freedom.

h: I like seeing all the diversity in a room of some 400 people.

c: And maybe 5 men.

h: But there were lawyers, business people, even students.  

c: At the end of the event 5 female Olympic athletes came up on stage including gold medal winner, Erica Wiebe.  She won gold for Canada in Rio as a wrestler.  I talked with her after the event and even fondled her gold medal. She mentioned something about being girly or feminine and I'm thinking but you wrestle people.  How does feminine work in such a “masculine” sport?  She said she never looked at it from a feminine or masculine perspective, or even female or male, more of a human to human exchange, an opportunity to connect with another human being.  I thought that was so beautiful.  

h: We also had the pleasure of listening to Rachel Mielke.  She is CEO of Hillberg & Berg jewelry and design. She was on season 3 of the Dragon’s Den.  She was really revealing and vulnerable speaking to when she could barely make payroll and keep her business up and running. She went on Dragon’s Den and Brett Wilson saw her potential.  Today her business is in the two million annual profit range.  One interesting business strategy was that when things were at their worse her company began a program helping other women start new business ventures.  Their philanthropy caught the attention of a government official in Saskatchewan and the company was chosen to design a commemorative brooch for the Queen.  Queen Elizabeth wore the jewelry in public on several occasions and the notoriety turned the tide for Hillberg & Berg.

c: My takeaway was Rachel taking talking about her relationship with her father who passed away just as her business really taking full flight.  Her father was a tinkerer and he never excluded her from his workshop. 

h: As a parent, he didn’t treat her any differently because she was a girl.

c: On that topic, I read an article recently questioning whether parents prefer having a boy, or a girl.  Of course, the politically correct answer it doesn't matter, we would love them both the same.  But, then there’s Kate, a mom who went on babble and wrote this: “there are moments in my least sane and darkest thoughts when I think it wouldn’t be so bad if I lost my daughter, as long as I never had to lose my son.”

h: That immediately makes we want to throw up, and I hope she didn’t mean it like that.

c: Her readers immediately felt the way you just reacted and her babble page blew up.  She later explained.  If she and her husband  ever had a divorce, or if her daughter were to be taken by child services, was what she meant.  She said, “I would never ever, never ever, say or wish my daughter were dead.  I was shocked and ashamed that readers took my words so poorly.  My words probably struck a little too close to home for many people.  Likely in your darkest times you’ve had the same thoughts and found it obscene to see your own dark thoughts out in the light of day.”

h: Makes you wonder how many parents deep down favor one sex over the other. 

c: In many of the articles I’ve read there was a clear bias from mothers towards having boys.

h: It would be interesting to learn if this is an entrenched societal belief.  

c: For yourself, someday you want to be a mom? How does that impact you when you think of having either a girl or a boy? 

h: Oh I just want them to be healthy.   Actually, it makes me think of women who are trying to conceive and they admit to being really scared to have a girl because she would be so vulnerable to being raped, or not believing in herself. I retort that question by saying I’m more scared to have a boy who would be a perpetrator than a girl who could be a victim. These women look at me like wow I haven’t thought of it that way.  If we live in the fear of what could happen to girls that’s doing them a disservice.

c: However, is that not what we admire in a parent?  Not the worry part, but for the overall well-being of that child.  Parents want their child to have the perfect life if they could make that happen.  They don’t want to see their child damaged my a society or crushed by a system.

h: I would think in a place like Canada or the US where girls and boys have the equal opportunity to succeed that there would be no reason for infanticide favoring boys over girls.

c: Proof from this event today was seeing women who are absolutely thriving and their enthusiasm to forge the way in business.  One thing did make me a little sad about today’s event.  It goes back to the conversation I had with Erica Wiebe the gold medalist and her comment about human to human, not woman to man, or feminine to masculine.  This was a room full of women who feel they must segregate themselves in order to celebrate one another and be a society onto themselves outside of men. 

h: I think a lot of the guys who may have considered going may hear things like Women of Inspiration and are immediately turned off.  Part of it is the celebration of women by women, but in today’s world in business and otherwise, if we’re not having everyone in on the conversation we’re not really moving forward.

c: It’s interesting in hearing Rachel Mielke speak.  She singled out two men who believed in her and supported her.  Without Brett’s belief and his financial support, or her father's full belief in her, there may not be the story of success.

h: I guess then it’s brainstorming to find a way where men feel fully invited to these sort of conversations.  

c: The founder of Women of Inspiration reflected on a time in her life when she had the ideal life, home, white picket fence and family, then one morning she woke up homeless and a single mother.  The organization that caught her when she was falling was Homefront, a not for profit agency that’s an outreach for women in desperate and life-threatening situations. Now she's the founder of Business Chicks, a platform for women entrepreneurs pushing boundaries for women.

h: Yeah, she was open to sharing a little bit about her story as was Shauna Walker the Director at Spa Lady who also spoke about her challenges with abuse.  Looking back at my studies and working with some of the women’s shelters you see one side of the issues on the front line and then to be at a very formal, fun event and having women that have been very successful business wise come forward it really hit home just how prevalent domestic abuse still is.

c: I guess that goes back tothe fact that women need to band together and support each other and that is the other end of the spectrum.  We see these women celebrating success today, but the other side is that a lot of these women rose from the ashes to become entrepreneurs and successful business women. 

h: Abuse is not something you would ever wish on anyone, however, it is powerful to see a bad circumstance being used towards resiliency and being brave. 

c: I find that when you speak with very successful people nobody got there with a silver spoon in their mouth.  If you did get there with a silver spoon it’s gone because you never learned how to value what you have.  I wonder, is there a contrast.  For women, the men in their lives have caused a lot of the hardship and though for men the cause would be different, the theme is the same. 

h: I think that hearing both sides would really inspire people.  

c: If we are going to hook arms then lets hook arms as men and women.  Not a group of women over here hooking arms and a group of men over here hooking arms.  We’re all human beings.

h: Human beings of Inspirations, yeah!

c: On the topic of parents preferring a girl or a boy, I found these concerns of a father very revealing. His concern was how do I bring a girl into a World where she's going to be at a disadvantage from day one.  A World with an attitude that is going to negatively impact her life.  A few quotes here from this father:  "I'm not prepared to know that as soon as she's old enough to drive, she, like her mother, is going to have to learn how to carry her keys between her index and middle fingers in case someone follows her to her car.  I'm not prepared for my daughter to grow up in a country where her legal right to autonomy over her own reproductive system is relentlessly attacked." 

h: He brings up a some really important points.  As far as a woman’s reproductive rights go, that’s something women have been fighting for for so long and still accessibility and funding for abortion clinics or which type of birth control you are going to use, or the fact there isn’t a true form of male birth control that so much is on women’s shoulders and vulnerability to assault, you can see how a dad would be so worried.   One myth is people still believe a majority of assaults come from some guys lurking in the bushes.  It is astronomically more that it’s someone you know, and trust. 

c: or someone the family knows and trusts.

c+h

Chris Kennedy