Gutsy girls skateboard, climb trees, clamber around, fall down, scrape their knees, get right back up — and grow up to be brave women. Learn how to spark a little productive risk-taking and raise confident girls with stories and advice from firefighter, paraglider and all-around adventurer Caroline Paul. Original TED site

Who is she?:                  

Before launching her career as a writer, Caroline Paul embarked on a long list of unlikely adventures, ranging from flying experimental planes to whitewater rafting unexplored rivers in Borneo and Australia. Op.cite.

Why you should watch:

Paul was one of the first women to work for the San Francisco Fire Department — a job that inspired her first work of nonfiction, Fighting Fire. Her latest book, The Gutsy Girl, uses stories from her own life as a gutsy woman to inspire girls to break the rules, take risks and accept seemingly insurmountable challenges. Op Cite.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Despite having no talent, Pearce set out as a youth to win a world record. What did she try?
  2. She says that she was doing three things that are more important than winning a record. What are these three things?
  3. What job did she have that she had to prove here strength and fitness to be accepted?
  4. Skip, her teammate who was by the way a really nice guy and an excellent workmate, did not believe that women could have two important qualities. What qualities?
  5. Now, I know some of you won’t believe me when I tell you this, but I am not against fear. I know it’s an important emotion, and it’s there to keep us safe. But where does the problem arise for girls?
  6. “This is about the life ahead of her and that she has the tools to handle and assess all the dangers that we cannot protect her from, all the challenges that we won’t be there to guide her through, everything that our girls here and around the world face in their future…” Agree or disagree with her ideas about raising brave girls and explain you thinking to someone.

Caroline Paul’s Reading List

Girls Leadership

Girls Leadership is a national organization whose vision is “a society where girls and women engage authentically and assertively at every level of decision-making in all areas of their lives.” Their site is chock full of research and relatable anecdotes that offer valuable insight into raising courageous, confident girls. You can find their advice on microbravery, used in my talk, here

Peruse their website but, even better, enroll your girl, participate in their workshops, and donate.

Talking 9-5: Men and Women at Work

Deborah Tannen
William Morrow, 2001

Want to understand the subtle ways that our language restricts us? Tannen is a sociolinguist who shows how gender and social status are defined by rituals ingrained in everyday speech. A must read for anyone who wants to clearly see all the unconscious factors that guide our daily life.

Rad Women Worldwide, Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries who Shaped History

Kate Schatz, Illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl
Ten Speed Press, 2016

This book highlights a wide range of inspiring women who have lived lives of bravery and resilience. Written especially for middle graders, but enlightening for all of us.

50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do)

Gever Tulley with Julie Spiegler
Berkley, 2011

When a child learns to build a fire, use a knife, or throw a spear (!), she learns responsibility, confidence, and bravery. This book is a manifesto to the benefits of risky play!

Making Connections:




To raise brave girls, encourage adventure with Caroline Paul


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>