I'm the proud father of two boys and two girls. I've always had the idealized notion that my wife and I would raise them all gender neutral. You know, boys could play with dolls, and the girls could play with trucks. But the truth of the matter is that the boys choose trucks, and the girls choose dolls.
And the girls (a few years younger than the boys) talk a lot more about having crushes on boys and hurting each other's feelings than the boys ever did. In my own little household laboratory, it's been clearly shown that boys and girls are different.
When I first heard about Bring your Daughters to Work Day almost a decade ago, I was excited because I thought this was a easy and powerful way to help my little girls see they could be more than a school teacher or a secretary (not that there's anything wrong with those professions, but they should be a choice and not an implied expectation).
However, by the time my princesses were old enough to participate, sons where invited as well. It became bring all your offspring to work day. Here's a quick historical overview from the website College News:
Back in 1993, the foundation was called simply Take Our Daughters to Work Foundation, and its purpose was to show young women the benefits of a college education at a work, office, or career setting. At the time, college admissions for women were decreasing, and the organizers of Take Your Daughter to Work Day felt that something needed to be done.
The program was created in hopes of boosting self-esteem for young women, offering an insiders perspective to the workforce which had just experienced an influx of female professionals from the 1980’s career boom. In 2003, the program was expanded to include sons. Naturally, the boys felt a little left out.
This new format was:
Designed to be more than a career day, the Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® program goes beyond the average “shadow” an adult. Exposing girls and boys to what a parent or mentor in their lives does during the work day is important, but showing them the value of their education, helping them discover the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life, and providing them an opportunity to share how they envision the future and begin steps toward their end goals in a hands-on and interactive environment is key to their achieving success. ~ from the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation Website
It seems like male inclusion and family balance became bigger priorities than helping young girls see bigger career opportunities. And that bothers me. First I think the latter is a bigger problem, and second why do we need a foundation to help active boys feel involved and show them how to balance work life priorities. That's what regular parenting is suppose to do.
Taking daughters to work seems a clear and direct idea to expose them to possible career paths. Every spring when this day rolls around, I get mad about how our societal need for inclusion has diluted a great solution.
Okay, enough venting! For the next post I'll check out some of the facts. After all, I hear college enrollment is up for women, maybe a daughters-only program really isn't needed.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Am I being an old feminist crumugdeon? Should boys have the same chance as girls? Or am I on to something? I would love to read your thoughts. Let me know what you think in the comments section.