This past Thursday, we saw a lot of fresh new faces at our Voice of America Headquarters Building. It was "Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day," not just here but at job sites nationwide.
This annual event has evolved in ways its founders probably never imagined.
In 1993, the Ms. Foundation, an arm of Ms. magazine and the women’s movement, launched "Take Your Daughter to Work Day." Acting on research about girls’ relatively poor self-esteem, organizers thought it would be a good idea - if only for a day -- to show adolescent girls that they had great potential, including career possibilities besides being a wife and mother.
The idea caught on, so much so that boys and their parents got a little jealous. So, in 2003, the event became "Take Your Daughters and SONS to Work Day." In fact, there were even proposals to create a "Sons’ Day”" to be held on a Sunday so that boys could stay home and do cleaning and cooking and be educated about topics such as sexism and violence against women. But Sons’ Day never happened.
And the go-to-work idea kept growing.
In 1999, Pet Sitters International, an organization - based in North Carolina - whose members make a living watching after people’s animals, came up with "Take Your DOG to Work Day."
This was not some nutty promotional stunt to give dog-lovers a romp in the halls with Fido and Fifi. There was a serious purpose, organizers said: to encourage co-workers, who might not realize how much joy a pet can bring, to consider adopting homeless animals from shelters and rescue groups.
The first year, 300 companies signed up. Twelve years later, on this coming June 24, more than 10,000 companies around the world are expected to open their doors to pooches.
One has to wonder, though, what this idea has unleashed, so to speak. We know of at least 20 fervent CAT lovers in the building who are saying that if we let the dogs in, then Whiskers and Boots deserve their chance to come to work and catch that mouse that’s raiding lunchtime leftovers down in the VOA newsroom.