Female empowerment for our daughters

22 Years of “Take Our Daughters to Work Day”

Why was this day created and how has it evolved over time?

Take Our Daughters to Work day began in 1992 by Gloria Steinem as a project of the Ms. Foundation. It was created to show girls that being smart was something to be proud of and not something to hide. By providing girls with real-life models in the workplace, the hope was to offer something for girls to strive to achieve themselves. Gender did not have to hold them back from a desired profession.

Parade Magazine wrote about the program and by 1993 the Take Your Daughter to Work Day Foundation was formed to help expand the program nationally and internationally. 

From Female Empowerment to Breaking Gender Stereotypes

In 2003, the program expanded to include boys. And while many criticized this, wasn’t the point to increase female empowerment? The Foundation argued that the expansion would only make the program stronger. It would allow for the dissolution of gender stereotypes completely. For instance, shouldn’t a boy be told he’s allowed to be a nurse?

Our daughters glass ceiling

Since then the program has continued to evolve. It’s now an April tradition, with worldwide participation. It purposefully takes place during the school year so educators can incorporate it into their lessons, drawing from real world experiences. There have even been purposeful strides in reaching out to low-income communities to find ways for children there to participate as well.

Are we empowering our daughters?

All of this is fantastic. And I am grateful for these opportunities and lessons for our next generation of workers. However, it’s interesting to see the original intent behind the day and how it has changed over time. I love the idea of breaking gender stereotypes and teaching children they can follow any career path that interests them.

However, I do not feel our job is completely done in empowering girls to thrive in the workplace. If the realities of the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that women still shoulder the bulk of the burden when it comes to childcare and home management in addition to their jobs. Women are still the default parent who gets the phone call from school. They are still usually the one who needs to stay home with a sick child. They carry the bulk of the emotional labor, scheduling dentist appointments, replacing outgrown clothing, chauffeuring, etc.

“Take our Daughters to Work” Starts at Home

We can most definitely tell our girls they can aim for any career path they want. But they are still seeing their mothers carry an unsustainable workload each day and battling burnout. What is the answer to that? It’s complicated, I know. But until that balance is shifted, our girls will unfortunately always hit a ceiling.

We have come a long way from the balance of parenthood from the past. I applaud that men have made major strides in division of responsibilities at home and child rearing. But we, as a society, can still do better.So, parents, instead of just taking your child to work. Consider what you model for them each day. Are you demonstrating an imbalanced division of labor in the home? Are you making sure one parent isn’t burning out from an overloaded plate? The daily application they witness are the lessons your children will carry. Empower your daughters to speak up, negotiate in all areas of their lives and thrive.

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Why the Amaryllis Flower?

Why the Amaryllis flower?

Why my affinity for the amaryllis flower?

You may have noticed I have a strong affinity for the amaryllis flower. It’s on my logo, I use it in many of my other graphics and I even named my publishing company Amaryllis Press. What’s the deal with that? Why the amaryllis flower?

Well, there’s a few reasons. One big one is exemplified by something that happened this week.

So, I am horrible with plants. Like my thumb is blacker than black. All you need to do is ask my sister or mother-in-law who try to give my plants some much needed TLC and resuscitation whenever they visit.

And yet, I have this beautiful amaryllis flower that somehow managed to bloom again this week for the third year in a row! Trust me, I thought this thing was deader than dead. I honestly can’t even remember the last time I watered it, and yet you’ll see below– it’s a beauty to behold at the moment.

But that’s the thing about amaryllis plants– they’re the heartiest flowers out there. They’re bred to withstand harsh climates, lack of light, neglect… and still come out better than ever! 

Kind of like my protagonists, or honestly women in general. You can knock us down– but we’re never out!

Even the name amaryllis and symbolism behind it hold special meaning to this analogy. The amaryllis derives its name from the Greek word meaning- “to sparkle.” And the stunning flowers are believed to mean pride, strength and determination as they stand tall over all other winter blooms. Yes, they are one of the few flowers that bloom during the winter!

So, now do you see why I love the amaryllis flower? What better way could I represent strong, empowered women?

This got me thinking. Many of you met me and joined this newsletter list at one of my festival events. And one of my favorite things about those live events is getting to talk with you and hearing some of your stories. So many of you have shared incredible stories about the amazing women in your own families. Women who embody the characteristics of the amaryllis flower. I would love for others to hear your stories!

So, I’m going to add a section into my newsletter called The Amaryllis Women. I’d love for you to send in your family stories to me @ hello@joyanapeters.com. Tell us about the incredible women from your families! I’ll choose one or two to share each week. I can’t wait to hear your stories!

Have a great weekend everyone- and remember to sparkle! 😉

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