“A Girl Should Be Two Things: Who and What She Wants”  

Coco Chanel

8 minutes reading time 

First and foremost, Toy Universe would like to wish women everywhere an incredible Women’s Month! That’s right, it’s that time of year when we place an emphasis on educating our kids about the importance of women’s contributions to the world as we know it. If you didn’t know that March was Women’s Month, now is the perfect time to learn all about it! 

How did it all start?

On a glorious day in 1981, the American Congress passed a Public Law that gave President Ronald Reagan the authority to declare the week that began on the 7th of March, 1982 as “Women’s History Week”. Since then, March has become Women’s Month, where for an entire month, the contributions that women have made to the United States over the decades are acknowledged and celebrated.

Women Who Shaped the Universal Declaration

One of the most prolific women who helped to shape Women’s Month was Eleanor Roosevelt, the former First Lady of the United States (1933 to 1945). In her role as the Chairperson of the drafting committee of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Eleanor Roosevelt maximised her tremendous influence and credibility with both superpowers, driving the drafting process toward its successful completion. As a result, the United Nations Human Rights Prize was awarded to Roosevelt posthumously in 1968.

Hailing from India, Hansa Mehta was the only other woman to be a part of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, from 1947 until 1948. Hansa Mehta is credited with altering the phrase from Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which read, “All men are born free and equal” to state that “All human beings are born free and equal”, making her a admirable defender of women’s rights, not just in her home country but
also worldwide.

Of course, throughout history, there have been countless other brave women who have contributed to making Women’s Rights a reality.

Australian Women Who Had Helped Make Our Country What It Is Today

If you’ve ever looked at a $50 note, you’d recognise the woman printed on the front, none other than Edith Cowan. Edith Cowan was a social reformer who worked incredibly hard to award social rights to both women and children, and was the first-ever woman to be elected to the Australian parliament. In 1923, Edith Cowan introduced the Women’s Legal Status Bill, effectively removing the ban on women practising law and other professions in Western Australia.

Another incredibly inspiring Aussie woman is Maude Bonney. Once most professions finally became a possibility for women to explore and pursue, Maude Bonney became a pilot, setting an unbelievable amount of world records during this time. 

In 1931, she set a record by flying her plane for 1,600 kilometers, the longest distance on a single flight ever flown by a woman at the time. She also, still, holds the record for the first female pilot to circumnavigate the country through flight, which she successfully did in 1932. In 1933, Bonney became the first woman to make the flight from Australia, all the way to England and in 1937, she was awarded the title of first woman to fly from Australia to South Africa.

Parents’ Role in Shaping the Society

You might still be wondering why it is our responsibility as parents to educate our children on the importance of women empowerment? Here’s why. As we all know, education begins at home. Though it makes us sad to think about, eventually, our children will grow up and learn to act according to the lessons that they have been taught. Little girls have to understand that there is nothing that is stopping them from having the power, or the ability, to be whatever they want to be - whether that is a doctor, a pro surfer, a judge or a pilot. However, it is just as important that our sons be taught this same message. Even at a young age, they, too, must be taught about the empowerment of women, and the contributions that women have made to the world. They must learn to respect women, and if they see respect being practised at home, they will internalise this message and act in the same manner as they mature. However, there are many different ways that children can absorb information and learn these vital lessons. Where some children learn by seeing, and hearing, others learn by reading and playing. Toy Universe recognises this, and we have curated some of the best books and toys out there, to provide children with enjoyable, yet still meaningful lessons and experiences that they will internalise and appreciate as they grow up.

For all the young bookworms out there, the best way to introduce them to the wonderful world of Women Empowerment is through learning about some of the most influential females that achieved greatness over the past century. We recommend informative books, such as 101 Awesome Women Who Transformed Science by Claire Philip,101 Awesome Women Who Changed Our World by Julia Adams and Fantastically Great Women Who Made History by Kate Pankhurst. These books feature inspiring quotes, biographies and facts about notable women including Harriet Tubman, Qiu Jin, Rosa Parks, Anne Frank, J.K. Rowling, Maya Angelou, Carol Shaw, Joy Adamson, Sun Yung Alice Chang and so many more!

For our little doll fans, Barbie’s extensive You Can Be Anything range is dedicated to encouraging children to pursue their dreams, whether they are interested in becoming professional athletes, the perfect ballerinas or even respected doctors. For toddlers and younger children, we recommend the large-format dolls from Our Generation. These dolls come in a wide range of themes, including surfer, scientist, pilot and so many other career paths that young minds will be encouraged to explore!

When asked what they’d like to be when they grow up, most children have a definitive answer. Why not encourage your children to pursue their dream job, by pretending to be a doctor with Melissa and Doug’s Get Well Doctors Kit Play Set, a crimefighter with the Kids’ Police Force Dress-Up Set, or a detective with Plan Toys’ Detective Set. There are so many other fun dress-up sets complete with accessories in this range that your child will want to do it all!

As mentioned in the title, Coco Chanel, one of the most influential women, designers and businesswomen in the world once uttered inspiring words that every little girl should hear, “A Girl Should Only Be Two Things In Life: Who and What She Wants.” Not only did she completely revolutionise the way women dressed, but Coco also restructured the way that women think, and how they were regarded. Coming from a less than fortunate family, she made her way to the top of the fashion scene in the 1920s, where she became known for her classic designs, unmistakable suits and little black dresses. Time and time again, she emphasised the importance of girls and women to become independent. She designed and created free-flowing trousers and sailor pants, specifically for women. These pants allowed women to be comfortable, move more freely and to work without any hassle, giving them a stylish yet practical option that was not available until she came along. This contribution not only transformed women’s outfits into exceptional pieces of art, but it was a practical and comfortable way for women to go about their lives.

Coco Chanel was a self-made woman and throughout her entire life, she made it her mission to empower other women. She continually proved that anything was possible, both through her words and her designs. She was a woman with ambition, who both restructured the way that society perceived women and offered women another viable and more practical choice of attire.

We, as parents, must teach our children how vital they can be in shaping society, just like the incredible women that are mentioned above. We must teach them to respect others’ views, yet to have their own beliefs and form their own opinion. It is our duty to show our children that there is absolutely nothing that can stop them from becoming who and what they want to be. A long as they persevere and put in the effort, they can do anything. Introduce your children to Toy Universe’s kingdom of joy and watch them thrive.

Toy Tester Mum