“If you’re a dad who wants to create a fairer and more equal world for your daughters to thrive in, this book is a must-read!” —Jerry Yang, cofounder & former CEO of Yahoo! Inc.
Winner 2020 Living Now Gold Award, Family & Parenting
Finalist 2020 Indie Book Award for Social Change
A world where your daughter can thrive. Today’s generation of feminist dads are raising confident, empowered daughters who believe they can achieve anything. But the world is still profoundly unequal for women and girls, with workplaces built by men for men, massive gender pay gaps, and deeply-ingrained gender stereotypes. Dads for Daughters: How Fathers Can Support Girls and Women for a Successful Feminist Future offers fathers guidance for building a world where their daughters can thrive.
Lean In for dads. The most successful leaders of all companies, from family businesses to lean startups, understand that leaders eat last. Your workplace can be a stage for the fight for equality and true leadership that empowers women. The guidance in this book will help you move from TED talks to daily action.
Invest in the next generation. Men who were raised with the second-wave feminism of The Feminine Mystique know that the personal is political. The confidence code for girls that you instill at home can lead to a better world for all women.
Dads for Daughters is a feminist book for fathers invested in the gender equality fight. With this book, you’ll find:
- Steps you can take today in your workplace and community to create a better tomorrow
- Inspiring stories from successful and empathetic fathers
- Resources to help you take action in the women’s movement
Dad’s for Daughters is perfect for fathers who enjoyed Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, or We Should All Be Feminists. This book is great for men who love nasty women.
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About the Author
Michelle has published eighteen journal articles, including in the California Law Review, the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, and the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law. She regularly speaks around the country on issues relating to sex discrimination, gender stereotypes, and the gender pay gap. Her audiences include parents and family advocates, legal and social science scholars, business and human resource practitioners, public interest activists, lawyers, and policy-makers.
Read an Excerpt
Welcoming Girls into STEM
Even after three decades, Qusi Alquarqaz still adores being an electrical engineer. He always hoped that his two daughters would follow in his footsteps, but his plan was not to be. After his first daughter, Rawan, announced that she wanted to study fashion design and business, Qusi pinned his remaining hope on his younger daughter, Ryzan. She recently told her dad that she might go to law school to become an international lawyer. Qusi will support her no matter what career she chooses, but he still had a lingering desire to convince at least one daughter of the joys of being an engineer.
With almost thirty years of experience in the power industry, Qusi could make a persuasive case. “Wherever you look you will see engineering’s positive impact on humanity,” he told his daughter. He explained how engineers get to innovate, solve problems, and improve communities. He mentioned the prestige and good pay. He even played on her emotions. “Imagine how life would be like without engineers,” he said. “Engineers avert disasters and protect the world. Be part of that and create a change!” But none of his advice or encouragement worked. His daughter’s answer was still no.
Qusi’s desire for his daughters to become engineers is unusual, which is part of the problem. A recent survey asked 770 parents in 150 countries about the careers they wanted for their kids, who were eleven to sixteen years old. Parents of boys were twice as likely as parents of girls to say that science and technology was the field they most wanted their child to pursue. The disparity was even bigger for engineering in particular. While 11 percent of parents would choose engineering for their son, only 1 percent would choose it for their daughter.
Even though Qusi is among the 1 percent of parents who wanted his daughters to become engineers, he still couldn’t spark their interest. He asked them why they weren’t drawn to engineering, and they said that none of their teachers ever talked about it as a career, so they never considered it. That concerned Qusi, who thinks that schools should encourage students to become engineers. He also saw his daughters struggle to stay engaged with chemistry and math because the teachers weren’t using real-life problems or examples. When they couldn’t understand the theory, his daughters and their friends often concluded that they weren’t smart enough for a math or science career.
Qusi also blames the male-dominated reputation of the engineering profession. “When people think about engineering,” he says, “they often think about hard hats, steel beams, winches, long hours, relocation every few years, and instability. There is a misunderstanding that engineering involves tedious or hard physical labor suitable for men only.” Lurking behind those misperceptions is a lack of female role models, which makes it harder to get girls excited about becoming engineers.
The data bears out Qusi’s concerns about the lack of educational pipelines for girls into STEM. Girls and boys perform similarly in math and science during primary school, but girls never participate in computer science and engineering at the same rate as boys. Although women are earning close to 60 percent of all bachelor’s degrees, they earn only 43 percent of math degrees, 39 percent in physical sciences, 19 percent in engineering, and 18 percent in computer science.
These disparities carry over into the workforce. In the U.S., women fill only a quarter of all STEM jobs. Sometimes art-related jobs are added to this group—changing the acronym to STEAM—which may raise the percentage of women slightly. But overall numbers hide the extremely low participation rates of women in engineering and computer science. Most women head into the social, biological, and life sciences, leaving women to fill only 11 percent of jobs in physics, astronomy, and engineering. Women are particularly scarce in mechanical engineering, where they make up only 8 percent of the workforce. Even worse, the percentage of women in computing jobs has actually decreased from 37 percent in 1995 to only 22 percent in 2017. This is likely linked to the massive gender pay gap in the field. For those holding an advanced degree and working full-time in science or engineering, women’s median annual salary is over 31 percent less than men’s.
Perhaps most disturbing is that many women who earn STEM degrees don’t end up in STEM jobs. Thirty-eight percent of women who get engineering degrees stop being engineers or never take an engineering job in the first place. Almost half of women who enter the tech field eventually leave—a rate that’s more than double that of men. The exit rate is particularly high for women after they have their first child because of the minimal support for childcare and nursing, and the lack of flexible hours. This loss doesn’t just cost women, it also costs the tech industry itself. Silicon Valley tech companies spend more than $16 billion a year in turnover costs to replace and re-train workers to fill jobs that women and minorities leave.
Table of ContentsDads for Daughters Table of Contents
Introduction: Calling Dads of Daughters to Step Up for Gender Equality
Chapter 1: Building Pipelines to the Top
Chapter 2: Making Workplaces Work for Women
Chapter 3: Welcoming Girls into STEM
Chapter 4: Confronting Gender Bias
Chapter 5: Flexing Empathy Muscles
Chapter 6: Rethinking Masculinity
Chapter 7: Being More Than Just a Sports Fan
Chapter 8: Engaging Other Men
Chapter 9: Drinking the Daughter Water
Chapter 10: Investing in Women Entrepreneurs
Chapter 11: Taking an Encore
Chapter 12: Leveraging Political Power
Chapter 13: Misusing Father-Daughter Power
Conclusion: Leading For Our Daughters
What People are Saying About This
“In Dads for Daughters , Michelle Travis shows how dads can play a powerful role in the inside game for women's equality by becoming allies, advocates, and supporters for their daughters' cause. Though the fight for gender equality must engage all members of society, dads are in a unique position to anticipate and observe as their daughters enter careers in a vastly unequal playing field for leadership and financial gain. In fact, each chapter of this compelling book addresses a daunting issue that women continue to face in the workplace, along with a call to action in "How Dads Can Get Started"a chapter section that offers a compendium of organizations, initiatives, and mentoring opportunities for dads to accelerate the progress women have already made. With inspiring examples of how dads have advocated for their daughters, including NBA greats Stephen Curry and Coach Gregg Popovich, Michelle motivates other dads to follow their lead. This is an essential book for every dad, no matter the age of his daughterdads for daughters can never stop!”
Kate Farrell, librarian, storyteller, & author of Story Power: Secrets to Creating, Crafting, and Telling Memorable Stories