Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day
Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit educational program in the United States and Canada that revolves around parents taking their children to work for one day. It is the successor to Take Our Daughters To Work Day, which was expanded to include boys in 2003. In the U.S., it occurs on the 3rd Thursday in April every year; in the Canadian province of Ontario, it occurs on or around November 7.
Take Our Daughters To Work Day was created in New York in the summer of 1992 by the Ms. Foundation for Women and its president, Marie C. Wilson, with support from foundation founder Gloria Steinem.  The first celebration took place on Thursday, April 22, 1993 and has since been celebrated on the 4th Thursday of April every year in order for the 37 million children, parents, schools in over 3.5 million workplaces across the country, in addition to participants in over 200 countries around the world, to plan ahead for the annual event. The day has generally been scheduled on a day that is a school day for most children in the United States, and schools are provided with literature and encouraged to promote the program. Educators are provided with materials for incorporating career exploration into school curricula on the day before or after the event.
In 2000, when asked by the Minneapolis Star Tribune which activities he would propose for a national day for boys equivalent to Take Our Daughters to Work day, author Robert Bly suggested that fathers take their sons to the library and show them the books they love. Noting that women have often been excluded from the work world, Bly said, "I think it's just as likely now that men will be shut out of the inward world, the literature world."
According to Christina Hoff Sommers in her book The War Against Boys, one early proposal by the Ms Foundation to include boys was Son's Day. Son's Day would take place on a Sunday so the boys would avoid missing a day of school. Son's Day would require boys to stay at home, do cleaning and cooking and be educated about topics such as rape, sexism and violence against women.
The program was officially expanded in 2003 to include boys; however, most companies that participated in the program had, since the beginning, allowed both boys and girls to participate, usually renaming it "Take Our Children to Work Day" or an equivalent. The program's official website states that the program was changed in order to provide both boys and girls with opportunities to explore careers at an age when they are more flexible in terms of gender roles. The Ms. Foundation also states that men who have hosted children have benefited from being seen as parental figures in addition to their roles as professionals, which can contribute to combating gender stereotypes as well.
Prior to the inclusion of boys, the Ms. Foundation contended that the program was designed to specifically address self-esteem issues unique to girls and initially resisted pressure to include boys. Much of this pressure came from educators who did not wish to include the event in their curriculum given that their male students were not encouraged to participate.
In 2007, upon becoming its own separate foundation, the Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work program was turned over to Carolyn McKecuen, a MacArthur Genius Award recipient, who took effective control as its Executive Director before relocated to Elizabeth City, North Carolina where it has remained since. Gloria Steinem continues to maintain a role with the Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Foundation as a member of its board of directors.
Employees, across the United States and around the world, typically invite their own children or relatives to join them at work, but the program particularly encourages employees to invite children from residential programs or shelters who may not be exposed to many adults in skilled professions today.
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The Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day, aimed at children between the ages of 8 and 18, has inspired a future generation of more than 37 million youth and adults participating at over 3.5 million workplaces each year by helping bring children into the workplace in order to explore the many life choices they have. Teachers, students, workplace coordinators, mentors and parents can utilize resources and activity guides, which can be found on the foundation's website, to prepare and organize participation for those who wish to be involved in the program when it's celebrated on the 4th Thursday of April. In addition, there are other resources on the website which can be utilized from around the world and throughout the year for those who are not in an area where participation is advocated. Questions regarding the history and purpose of the program can also be found on the frequently asked questions portion of the foundation's website.
- "One Day of 'Take a Child to Work' Is Short on Substance : Boys are now being invited to join the formerly all-girl event. But it's doubtful kids find our jobs worth imitating. It may be better to just share the pride of accomplishment.". Los Angeles Times. 1995-04-16. Retrieved 2013-04-27.
- Official homepage
- Collection of articles regarding inclusion of boys as well as alternative events held prior to the Ms. Foundation event being expanded to include boys
- Form 17, a short film about a bomb squad dad who brings his daughter to work