Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day® is today.
I should love this event, and not just because this year it means my husband will take our two girls to work and I’ll get a comp day. I should love it because its
original intentions were high-minded.
I’m just not sure it’s aging gracefully.
The official TYDASTWD® is now run by the Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day Foundation, hence the ®. The organization took it over in 2007 from the Ms. Foundation, which started it as a daughters-only event in 1993. Boys were included in 2003.
The foundation exists to support the millions of businesses, universities and organizations that bring kids in their doors, says its president, Carolyn McKecuen. To do so, it relies on corporate donors. Surprising corporate donors, it turns out.
Last year, in a move the Queen of Irony, Alanis Morissette , would appreciate, the Day® was sponsored by none other than Barbie. At least one member of the Ms. Foundation could not let this pass without comment.
This year, there’s a more subtle lineup. None of the sponsors are toy sex symbols. Still, a few are interesting choices: Northrup Grumman, Goldman Sachs and Estee Lauder, the maker of a new perfume called Bronze Goddess.
McKecuen told me that sponsorships seek her out rather than the other way around. “Ninety percent of the time sponsors choose us,” she said. I asked McKecuen if she thought Barbie was an appropriate role model for an event that was supposed to be about female empowerment.
“I think Barbie worked out real well,” she said.
What about munitions-makers, controversial financiers and makeup companies? “Whether we’re working with Barbie or [another sponsor], we look at who is going to give most back to the kids.”
McKecuen herself seemed a good role model. Unfailingly polite in the face of my skepticism, she seemed firmly committed to her beliefs. In fact, she called herself a feminist.
“I mean the good kind of feminist,” she said. “These days you can never tell what that word means.”