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Girls Won't Be What They Can't See

I know this is controversial but, politics aside, we need a female president in the United States.

I was having a conversation with my daughter in celebration of Take Your Child To Work Day. I asked her what she would like to be when she grows up. Her response? "I want to be a fashionista like mami. I want to design clothes and make dresses when people need them for parties."

I felt incredibly flattered. I mean, the fact that she would consider what I do somehow impactful or interesting really validates that my work is an example for her.

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I am trying to be a role model for her in every way, and one of the things that matters to me is teaching her that, with hard work, she can have a fulfilling life. One day, when she is ready, she can have a family of her own and still have a career that makes her happy. She can be successful at her workplace and inspiring in her home.

As the day progressed, we saw a commercial, and she asked me about people who have lost a body part due to a shark attack. She talked about the different kinds of sharks she had learned about in school, and somehow that conversation turned into something else.

I mentioned to her that people can lose an arm or a leg for reasons other than a shark attack. They could lose a limb due to disease, like diabetes, or an accident. Then I mentioned how they get prostetics. She was fascinated. People can get parts like a robot?

"Well, they are expensive and not everyone gets a chance to get one," I told her. At that moment she said something that blew my mind.

"I want to be president then, and I will buy all those people their arms or legs, so they can run and swim," she said. "But I can't because only boys are presidents."

I was shocked.

My 7-year-old daughter did not believe that a woman could be president, because she had heard girls can't be president. A bit upset and defensive of my daughter's dreams, I answered, "Of course, we can. We can and we will! We even have a woman running right now for president."

She was so excited with my answer. She started talking about how she would build schools for poor kids who don't have money, and she would build a hospital for all those people who get sick because of sharks—yes, they are fascinating to her—and give poor people food. It was amazing. Everything I had one day hoped to hear was coming out of her mouth.

That's when I realized how important it is for our society to have a female example for all kinds of professions and jobs, including the White House. We have fought to end racism, and our current president is proof of that.

So it is time to end gender inequality and show our daughters that they can truly, really, literally be anything they want in life. It's not tangible until it happens. It's not a reality to them until they see it. It's merely a distant and vague possibility.

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The first female president does not necessarily have to be Hillary Clinton, but electing a woman to the highest office in the country needs to happen soon. Our girls are growing up not seeing themselves reflected in what is considered the most important job in the world.

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Image via Twenty20/Loo1183

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