Take Your Child to Work Day is promoted as a way for kids to learn about the workplace and build self-esteem. But, does this tradition still make sense?
"Take your child to work day" was created as a way for kids to learn more about the workplace, build self-esteem and challenge gender stereotypes. The world of work has changed in the past 25 years, and so the question remains: Does this tradition still make sense?
The History of Take Your Child to Work Programs
In the beginning, take your child to work day programs were geared specifically toward young girls. Originally launched by the Ms. Foundation for Women in 1993, it was designed so that girls could be introduced to the reality of being in the workforce, explains Business Insider. In 2003, the program was officially expanded to include boys. 2018 marks the program's 25th anniversary, with roughly 3.5 million workplaces participating in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, notes Forbes.
But is the idea of a take your child to work day still worth it? Since 1993, there's been a significant increase in the number of women participating in the workforce. On the U.S. Department of Labor website, it states that the number of women in the workforce went from 32.7 percent in 1948 to 56.8 percent in 2016. In addition, there's been a marked increase in the number of women earning college degrees (over 40 percent of women in the workforce).
Why They Still Have a Place
There are still significant challenges, however. Women on average still earn less than men. They're still underrepresented in certain fields, such as science or technology-focused ones. For example, according to a 2017 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), women only represented 25.2 percent of STEM occupations — jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. And those challenges are even more acute for black and other minority women in the workforce. Parity has yet to be reached in the last 25 years.
As for boys, a take your child to work day program can be a positive experience as well. Much like it would for girls, it helps them understand the scope and depth of the work that a parent does, along with how that fits into the organization. It presents a chance for boys to expand their thinking of potential roles beyond those defined by gender. Being a nurse, for example, is often thought of as a woman's job (and statistically, women are disproportionately represented in that profession).
Take your child to work day programs present opportunities for kids, families and organizations to learn and grow together. They provide a chance for children to imagine roles and professions they may not have considered, and witness a day in the life of not only their parents but other professionals. These role models can help them better define the future they want to see.
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