Take Our Daughters To Work Rational

Fri, 26 Apr 1996 12:57:01 -0400

Why a "Take Our Daughters To Work Day" ?

Since 1992, more than 30 million adults and girls have taken part in the
"Take Your Daughter To Work Day" sponsored by the Ms. Foundation. (Spring,
1995, Advocacy Press) It's an opportunity to make connections between who
they are, what they like to do in school and elsewhere, and the world of
careers and employment. It's also an invitation to them to think of
themselves in new ways, and to imagine themselves participating in roles and
responsibilities that they have not imagined before. This imagining might
include seeing themselves in life changing, planet protecting, life saving
situations as they experience mentoring by surgeons or psychotherapists,
environmental activists or water treatment plant operators, emergency medical
technicians or computer repair persons. This kind of experience means being
identified by adults as worthy of special invitation into, not just the world
of work, but into taking themselves seriously as learners, future
breadwinners, and contributors to the social good. These messages are not
commonly available to girls in families or in classrooms. What is available
are messages which diminish girls' relative importance to boys, and women's
relative importance to men and society. Research shows that girls are
getting these messages. Some are reacting at adolescence with anger,
depression, eating disorders, unwanted pregnancies and substance abuse,
losing confidence in academic and the promise of education. So, the
challenge to men and women who want girls to maintain their resiliency and
self-confidence, is to offer ways of interrupting societal messages which
diminish girls' aspirations for themselves. Girls need all of us, men and
women, to focus on them as future contributors to the workplace and the
public good. The "Take Our Daughter To Work" day is one such opportunity.

Barbara Ring
New York State Occupational Education Equity Center
Latham, New York 12110

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