29 Jun 2017

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:31 pm on 29 June 2017

The creators of the children's book Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls100 Tales Of Extraordinary Women made crowdfunding history last year, raising over a million dollars to ​produce their book which encourages girls to dream big.

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Photo: supplied

Co-author Francesca Cavallo tells Jesse Mulligan how it came about.

Fairytales often include stereotypes which are particularly harmful for girls, Cavallo says.

"There are a lot of princesses which are just waiting to be saved."

"So why not create bedtime stories about real women who can be great female role models?"

Each story in the book is one page long and focuses on one aspect of the woman's life.

The women range from Queen Elizabeth I to Serena Williams and there's even a New Zealander – suffragette Kate Sheppard.

Its huge success demonstrates there is hunger for this content because there simply isn't enough of it, Cavallo says.

"We're kind of prone to taking these exceptions and saying 'This is not a problem anymore because there is Moana and because there is Star Wars [which has featured strong female characters in the last two films] and all of that."

But these are just anecdotes –  data shows that in children's television shows and movies only 18 percent of female characters have a job or professional aspiration versus 80 percent of male characters, she says.

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