Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day is an educational program in the USA 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. It occurs on the fourth Thursday of April every year.
The Take Our Daughters To Work program was founded by Gloria Steinem and the Ms. Foundation for Women in 1993. 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.
Employees 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.