Monday, February 23, 2009
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!
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
(Chart: Number of math and science items purchased for boys and girls by parents.)
(Chart: Impact of father’s gender stereotypes on son’s and daughter’s interest in math.)
Davis-Kean and colleagues also found that parents' attitudes, particularly stereotypes they hold about whether math and science are more important for boys than for girls, have a significant effect on their children's later math achievement, and even on their eventual career choices.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I spent most of Wednesday at the Minnesota State Capitol for 3 rallies related to ending family and partner violence. 1) A “Second Chance” coalition supporting resources for people leaving prison—so that they find work, learn healthier ways to settle conflict, and don’t return to prison. 2) the Men’s Action Network, an alliance to prevent sexual and domestic violence (sadly, even in 2009, there were 10 times as many women as men at this rally) and 3) the MN domestic violence coalition, which honored (under the Capitol rotunda) all those murdered in 2008 because of domestic violence.
Domestic and partner violence doesn’t spring up in a vacuum out of nowhere. It often begins in the beginnings of intimate relationships—dating.
Charles Blow collects and shares some frightening statistics about dating violence on the NY Times blogs this morning. Be sure to read it:
And then, be sure to take some action to short circuit dating violence.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
© Joe Kelly. All Rights Reserved
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Pippi is always irreverent, and straightforwardly rude to the pompous adults who seem to populate so many children’s lives. If you and your daughter have never read Pippi Longstocking, put down this issue, go to the library, and borrow it. If you have read it, you know that Pippi is the gleeful 9-year-old orphaned daughter of a sea captain.
Tommy and Annika represent the book’s readers as they learn how fun, constructive, and reasonable it is for a girl to run her own life, ignoring the judgments other people cast on her behavior or her bright red stick-out ponytails. These are the elements that made Pippi Longstocking an international sensation.
“Bertrand Russell has written that a child dreams about power as grown-ups dream sexual wish dreams. This is a child who has power. That is wonderful, for children to think, ‘Oh, if I were like Pippi! I could say to Father, ‘You don’t do that!’ She has power, but she never misuses that power, which I think is the most splendid thing, and the most difficult.”
We have to walk a fine line between overprotecting them and providing our daughters the opportunity (and freedom) to exercise their power. And I mean exercise in the literal sense—try it out, see how it works, test its limits, strengthen its positive effect. That’s counterintuitive for parents.
Usually, when we think about “empowering” girls, we think of giving them the power to say no to threats and violations of their bodies. What’s different about Pippi is that she seizes her innate power and uses it to say yes to honesty, creativity, and the excitement of being alive.
It’s unsettling to consider allowing our daughters to exercise their power. They might, like Pippi, do something we consider outrageous, such as inviting a horse to dinner. But our daughters need their power to be fully alive. It’s like a muscle; it needs exercise, practice, and honing to work its best.