When I posted the photo above on @mommyshorts the other day, there were a few moms of boys who felt that the message should be more gender neutral. I get it. In an ideal world, the message would be more inclusive. But the world we are living in (particularly in the US) is not an ideal world. It is a world that has always centered around and catered to men. It will continue to be.

“The future is female” is about empowering women and girls to recognize that we take up half the space on this earth and we should own it. It says that the laws are currently weighted towards men but we will continue to try to tilt the scales toward equality. It’s encouraging women to fight and march and run for office because no one else is going to make this happen but us. We need to be bold and loud and stick our necks out.

No one is trying to take away rights from men. We just want women to be on equal footing.

If you haven’t noticed, women’s rights are currently under attack. For the first time in my lifetime, we are regressing. The current administration is appointing anti-choice judges, weakening protections for gender-based violence and failing to advance issues like equal pay. Have you seen those conference rooms full of old white men deciding what women should be able to do with their own bodies? It’s infuriating.

If your boys ask why there are “girl power” t-shirts and not “boy power” t-shirts, tell them about double standards and the gender pay gap.

Tell your boys that some people think girls are weak and emotional and this generation is trying to prove that being female is not a liability.

Explain the glass ceiling. That it’s much easier for men to rise up in their chosen professions than women. That there are certain professions that won’t even take a female applicant seriously.

Tell your boys that it’s important for them to grow up to be equal partners in marriage and parenting and domestic responsibilities so that companies are less likely to penalize women when they become mothers.

Teach them about consent and respect and seeing girls as complete human beings instead of objects.

Tell them they shouldn’t feel threatened.

Teach them that it’s okay to be vulnerable and how to deal with rejection.

You are not hurting your boys by telling them to believe in a future with powerful girls. You are giving this generation the hope of rising up together.

Happy International Women’s Day to all the strong moms out there working to change the world! Thank you for raising both your girls and your boys to want a better future for all.