November 20, 2014 12:15 PM

AKM-GSI

Sydney Bristow would be proud: Jennifer Garner‘s girls are learning to master martial arts.

The actress, 42, wants her daughters to embrace their “femininity” by playing with baby dolls and knowing how to bake.

However, she also wants Violet, 9 next month, and Seraphina, 5½, “to be able to kick a guy’s ass,” she told reporters on the red carpet at the 2nd annual Save the Children Illumination Gala.

“That’s why they’ve been taking karate since they were little!”

But book smarts are equally important to Garner. “I want my girls to love math and I want them to think that being a scientist is the coolest job on the planet,” she said at the event, which honored her husband, Ben Affleck.

According to the actor, Garner, who is on the board of trustees of Save the Children and who hosted the gala, is a great role model for their daughters.

“I think they understand what my wife understands full well, which is that it’s important to be strong and present and powerful and accept nothing less than a man would and in fact, ask for more,” Affleck, 42, says.

“That’s part of what I admire about my wife and I know through her example that my children will absorb that.”

While her children — including son Samuel, 2½ — wish she could stay home with them all the time, Garner says, “I want my kids to know that if working is important to me, and working for Save the Children is important to me, then that’s valid and that as much as I love them, I’m my own person too.”

— K.C. Baker

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