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Why We Celebrate Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

The mission of this fascinating day has shifted over the years, but at its core, the message remains clear: Parents have the ability to inspire their children to do great things.

UJA-Federation of New York's Music Visionary of the Year Award Luncheon, Inside, New York, USA - 14 Jun 2017Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

How it all began

In the 1990s, women made new strides in the workplace, which enabled them to make gains in both salary and career choice. However, there was clearly much work that still needed to be done. Inspired by research about adolescent girls and the roadblocks they face, the Ms. Foundation for Women headed by Gloria Steinem, the famed pioneer for women’s rights, created the first Take Our Daughters to Work Day in 1993.

Marie WilsonKristina Bumphrey/Shutterstock

“We weren’t supposed to be smart then”

Marie C. Wilson, one of the early founders of Take Our Daughters to Work Day and president emerita of the Ms. Foundation for Women told Time magazine her personal motivation for forging the initiative: “I played the marimba and danced my way to become Miss Atlanta Junior at age nine or ten. We weren’t supposed to be smart then; we were supposed to be pretty, and please boys.” Wilson’s difficult experience of being a wife, mother, and career woman in a corporate environment deeply motivated her to move the needle on the American workplace and its lack of opportunities for women. Here are stories of 58 more trailblazing women who made history.

Smiling boy with mother businesswoman working in officekryzhov/Shutterstock

Let’s hear it for the boys

The mission of Take Our Daughters to Work Day shifted in 2003, with the inclusion of boys, as all children can benefit from observing their parents and other adults in the workplace. Today, adults are encouraged to bring all the children in their lives, boys and girls, aged 8 to 18, to their jobs.

Happy smiling boys having fun in workshopOlena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

Agents of positive change

The theme for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day in 2018 was #ServiceForce: Being an Agent of Positive Change. The goal is to motivate children to be of service to others and create positive change. Learning how to be a team player at work will be stressed, along with the importance of realizing your own potential. Parents can reinforce these ideas by reading the day’s two official booksBoys Who Rocked the World – Heroes from King Tut to Bruce Lee, and Girls Who Rocked the World – Heroines from Joan of Arc to Mother Teresa, with their children. You can even try these 50 other tiny but powerful ways to encourage your kids everyday.

Father and two children, boys, watching cartoon movie in the cinema on 3DTomsickova Tatyana/Shutterstock

How National Geographic is celebrating the day…

National Geographic will be blending its commitment to wildlife with its commitment to kids for its Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day celebration this year. In 2018, the magazine showed a special video about leopards and jaguars with images and stories from Steve Winter, renowned photographer. The emphasis will be on protecting endangered species from the onslaught of civilization and its encroachment upon their habitats. “We hope to inspire young girls (and young guys) to explore the world around them, and maybe grow up to be protectors of big cats, like Steve,” says Caitlin Holbrook, communications specialist for National Geographic.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 13,2015:State Tretyakov Gallery is art gallery, foremost depository of Russian fine art in world. Gallery's history starts in 1856. Hall of Great Russian artist PerovPopova Valeriya/Shutterstock

How the Employee Justice Legal Team is celebrating the day…

This California-based labor law and employment law firm that focuses on employee rights is aspiring to combine fun with learning. “We will have a logic puzzle contest for the kids, visit a museum, and a pot luck, with employees bringing their favorite dish,” says Jesse Harrison, the firm’s CEO. All kids need fun in their lives, but they also need to hear these compliments too.

concentrated african american schoolgirl working with computer at machinery classLightField Studios/Shutterstock

How JPMorgan Chase is celebrating the day…

This financial giant has had an ongoing commitment to Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day since 2014, with their “Cracking the Code” initiative. The international program relies on a workforce volunteer staff of over 400 employees, who help kids learn about computer programming and cybersecurity. The program not only invites them into their parent’s office for the day but also tries to help them acquire critical thinking skills.

side view of african-american father and son using laptop while sitting together in officeLightField Studios/Shutterstock

How your workplace can celebrate the day

Every type of workplace can get involved, from retail stores to local governmental offices. You can access a variety of tools on the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation’s website for inspiration, by nabbing a Coordinator’s Toolkit, and Bright Ideas Guide. Whether you go all out or simply have your employee’s children view the day-to-day work world of their parents, you’re on the right track. Activities to consider include:

  • Have the children outline how they envision doing your job in ten years
  • Have the children work in teams to problem solve a common dilemma you face at work
  • Have the children observe their parents for the day and write an essay about the experience
  • Have the employees give presentations about the work they do and what it means to them
  • Enroll employees to become mentors to children

Read on as female CEOs share the best advice they have ever received.

Corey Whelan
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer and reproductive health professional who has worked with infertility patients and adopting parents for over 25 years. Her work has been featured in multiple media outlets, including Reader’s Digest, The Healthy, Healthline, CBS Local, and Berxi. Follow her on Twitter @coreygale.

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