Monday, February 23, 2009

Dads Influence Daughters’ Career Paths

More evidence trickles in about dads' influence on daughters.

According to today's New York Times online, University of Maryland researchers find that fathers have a marked influence on their daughters’ career paths by passing on job skills and work interests.

According to the Times, the researchers “used various data sets to study the career paths of 63,000 women born between 1909 and 1977. … About 6 percent of women born in the first decade of the study worked in the same field as their fathers. But about 18 percent of women born in the last decade of the study followed their fathers’ footsteps.”

The study used various criteria to try and isolate how much of the shift was due to parental influence, and I think their assumptions make good sense.
I found a lot of father influence on daughters’ career choices while doing interviews for my book Dads & Daughters®: How to Inspire, Support and Understand Your Daughter. Over an over, adult women who had strong, healthy relationships with their dads told of the sense of agency and interest their fathers conveyed in regard to work and career.

Of course, career is just one of the infinite ways a dad influences his daughter or stepdaughter. So make sure your influence is positive by taking an active role in supporting her, taking her seriously and listening to her!


Ashley said...

I can see this. My husband is an engineer and loves to build and repair things. I see my daughters In awe watching him and trying to mimic him fixing things all te time when they play.

E. Payne said...

I'm pretty handy around the house and my 3 y.o. daughter definitely has an interest in fixing things and doing her best to build with her legos and toy tools.

Philip H. said...

It's not just about being handy - though as a reformed finish carpenter, I think I qualify in that realm.

I keep trying to get my daughters to look at the world aroun dthem as a huge open canvas they now get to paint on. To that end I gave my 12 year old Cosmos by Carl Sagan for Christmas. It's one of the books that inspired me at that age (even if I didn't completely understandthe physics). I hope she reads it. EVen if she doesn't read it now, perhaps in the future she will, and perhaps it will inspire her as it did me.