In March, we celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day; a time dedicated to recognize and honor the contributions that women have made throughout the history of our country. It is also a time to be mindful of the strong female influences of today and a time to raise our collective consciousness about what we all can do to support women and girls in our society. President Obama was quoted in his State of the Union address last year, “A woman deserves equal pay for equal work.” It was one of the most loudly applauded lines of his speech. He went on to state, “Today, women make up about half our workforce, but they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.” This year, President Obama included the need for paid maternity leave and high quality, affordable child care in addition to reiterating the need for equal pay for equal work.
A recent study by the Association of Psychological Sciences brings to light one small thing that can happen in our households that may assist us in knowing what to do on a family level to bring President Obama’s words to fruition, and make all the trailblazing women of history proud. The study suggests a correlation between households that not only “talk the talk about gender equality, but actually walk the walk.” Something as simple as daughters observing their father do the dishes and share other household chores demonstrates gender equality in the household. The article’s author is quoted saying, “This study is important because it suggests that achieving gender equality at home may be one way to inspire young women to set their sights on careers from which they have traditionally been excluded.” If we truly want to raise strong, independent daughters who aspire to be successful leaders in all different fields, it begins at home. This study shows us that it does not matter how much money we make, where we live, what our culture or beliefs are – but rather, we are able to demonstrate gender equality as a healthy household example from which to spring our daughters forward.
It has long been known that having fathers in our daughter’s lives has significant physical and mental health benefits, and now this study is giving us concrete actions to take above and beyond just “being” in their lives. The author of the article says it succinctly, “Despite our best efforts to create workplace equality, women remain severely under-represented in leadership and management positions. How fathers treat their domestic duties appears to play a unique gatekeeper role.” It is dependent on all of us to help our women and girls succeed. So, during this month of March let us all be more mindful of demonstrating gender equality wherever possible to improve the quality of life for the next generation of strong women leaders.