The History Of Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day

Mayor Giuliani with his daughter at work |

Every year, the 4th Thursday of April is Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. You may also know it as Take Our Children to Work Day.

We used to call it Take Our Daughters to Work Day. For all the ways these names are different, so too has the spirit of the day changed.

There’s not much time left to get involved this year since it’s Thursday this week, but if you can mentor someone, even a kid who has nobody else to do so (assuming you have permission from the operative parties in charge) you could inspire that kid for life.

The best thing about this day is that it is history in the making, an emergent day of celebrating mentorship, something often lacking in a post-industrial computer age.


Marie C. Wilson |

Marie C. Wilson, president emerita of the Ms. Foundation for Women, hatched the idea for the day as the answer to the question: what is next for the women’s movement?

When she asked, it was the early 1990s. Anita Hill faced the Supreme Court regarding sexual harassment from Clarence Thomas. This was before he sat on the Supreme Court.

That case ushered in a new conversation about where we were with equal rights. At the time, women had made through the glass ceiling, not in droves, but they were in executive offices.

Still, humanity lived in a world where we could not yet define or understand what behavior we should consider as harassing. Some would argue we still can’t.

That same year, when the combined count of women in the Senate and the House went from four to 24 seats to 1992, the year earned the name “The Year of the Woman.”

For Wilson, it was time to conquer new territory, push our conventions. As she told Time magazine recently:

“[It came from] Carol Gilligan’s research looking at how adolescent girls started to lose their sense of who they were — thinking, talking and saying what they felt.”

When Wilson shared her idea with Gloria Steinem, spokesperson for the feminist movement, almost overnight, Take Our Daughters to Work Day became a thing.


The official countries who celebrate are the United States, Canada, and Australia, but there are more than 200 countries where the citizens participate without an official organization to oversee the events.

People have different ideas about what the day should mean, especially since the roots are feminist.

For those who backlash against anything to do with feminism, they object to the day even though it now includes sons. Keep up, everyone. That change took place in 2003.

Where the day was once about exposing young women or girls to the workplace, opening their minds to the possibilities ahead, it has morphed into a junior career day.

In 2007, a foundation called the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work came to fruition.

Every year there are themes for the day. This year’s theme is: Count Me In.

As a parent, you are at the helm of guiding the message of the day. You may decide that taking your daughter or son to work doesn’t expose the child to anything new. Maybe you take them to work all the time.

Instead, you could take your child to someone else’s work or swap kids for the day.

Some have even suggested non-work activities, where parents share some aspect of their adult lives not always shared, favorite books or their experiences serving on a board.

In any case, your participation is history in the making, which is kind of exciting.