Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit educational program in the United States and Canada and Australia 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 4th Thursday in April every year; in the Canadian province of Ontario, it occurs on or around November 7. In Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane Australia it occurs on January 5, just after Christmas Break.
History 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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