As the “take a girl child to school’” campaign gains traction and is significantly narrowing the chasm between boy and girl enrolment in classes, a vital message is being disregarded: the shrinking job market means that entrepreneurship has to be considered as a first choice rather than an alternative occupation.
The “‘Take the girl child to school’” campaign should be run concurrently with the initiative to encourage girls to become entrepreneurs. And this has to start early.
There are numerous ways in which you can inculcate an entrepreneur mentality in girls. Transform SA highlights the following:
Avoid early age gender pigeonholing
Tell your young girl that she too can become as successful an entrepreneur as their uncle, Sibusiso, who runs a successful billion rand structural engineering firm in Johannesburg. Note that the message a girl hears through her life shapes her goals.
Don’t restrain their vision
Avoid limiting career options for young girls to the conventional becoming a teacher, a nurse, a veterinarian, or a role in care industry. Why not present them with the possibility of becoming the next Wendy Luhabe? The more this option is raised as a real possibility, the more it will be reinforced in their minds.
Successful women as role models
Use women who are blossoming in business as role models. These could be women who are running their own companies, or are leaders in their industry. Eventually, they will ask themselves: “If other women are doing it, why can’t I?”
Promote business activity
Don’t wait for them to hit 20 to become entrepreneurs; the earlier the better. Convince young girls to think about business in everything they do. For instance, if they want to buy a new iphone, suggest to them the possibility of raising money by selling hot dogs on school rugby match day. Educate them on the following points: planning, saving and investing.