Today is "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day." Are there any little ones running around your office? Probably not.
MSNBC thinks the event has attracted less attention in the past decade or so because of the recession: most working parents don't have time to worry about little Sally spilling her Capri Sun all over their boss's keyboard. Throwing a "Take Your Kids to Work Day" event can definitely be expensive — my mom's office used to go all out when I was a kid, but she told me they haven't celebrated the day for the past few years. MSNBC points out that more parents are working at home, too, which means their kids are probably overly familiar with their work schedule, and that some parents are actually opting out of the day in protest, arguing that the event is only for the "privileged," since only people with cushy jobs can really participate.
But I think the reason why fewer companies are making a big deal out of "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day" has less to do with the financial crisis and more to do with the original purpose of the event. The Take Our Daughters To Work program was founded by Gloria Steinem and the Ms. Foundation for Women in 1993, with the intention of addressing issues specific to girls who didn't enjoy the same career opportunities as their male peers. (A decade later, the day was expanded to include boys as well.) But now, as the Pew Research Center reported last week, young women place more importance on having a high-paying career or profession than young men do: In 2010 and 2011, 66 percent of women 18 to 34 years old said that being successful in a high-paying career or profession was "one of the most important things" or "very important" in their lives, as opposed to 59 percent of young men. Women also outnumber men on college campuses.
I always loved "Take Your Daughters to Work Day," but mostly because it felt so scandalous to take the day off school and run around my mother's office, which enthusiastically organized a bunch of fun activities and delicious snacks specifically for my enjoyment. As much fun as that was, I think it's a good thing that it's quietly becoming irrelevant to "celebrate" girls with career ambitions. We still have a long ways to go in terms of gender equality in the workforce, particularly when it comes to income inequality and sexual harassment, but it's kind of awesome that we no longer need a specific day to inspire young women.
Image via Ignite Lab/Shutterstock.