When I started searching for the perfect costume for my daughter’s first Halloween, I squealed with delight over the little kitty cat, mermaid and bumblebee outfits.
Although the possibilities for a cuteness overload were endless, I decided to take a slightly different approach to her first Halloween costume. Always a teacher at heart, I couldn’t resist taking this opportunity to create a “teachable moment” by making her costume educationally significant. But don’t panic – she will still be irresistibly cute!
Women have been at a disadvantage throughout most of history, and gender inequality is still a major issue across the globe. Despite the many inequalities that women have faced throughout history, there have always been countless examples of women making tremendous breakthroughs in medicine, art, technology, science, and the humanities. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate bringing a beautiful little girl into the world than by dressing her in the likeness of an inspiring woman who has had a positive influence in the world. So for her first Halloween, my daughter was dressed as the famous primatologist Jane Goodall.
Two of the most important lessons that I hope to teach my daughter are to respect all of the plants and animals on our planet, and that she can make a difference in the world. I really believe that Jane Goodall embodies both of these lessons, and I hope that when my daughter looks at photos of her first Halloween costume she believes in her potential to make a positive difference in the world as much as I believe in her. I hope that we can see an end to gender inequality in her lifetime; but until we get closer to realizing that goal I want to give her the confidence she needs to overcome adversity, and provide her with positive female role models to look up to. Dressing my baby up like an inspirational woman for Halloween might seem insignificant in achieving this goal, but after my many years of teaching I truly believe that learning starts right from birth. I think that caregivers can set a positive tone in a child’s life right from day one that will stick with them forever, and I hope that my daughter’s Jane Goodall costume is an early step in helping her become a strong, inspirational woman herself. Plus… I promised she would also be adorable, right? I think I delivered!