Last year, St Paul’s Girl’s School launched a new campaign: Dads4Daughters. Partly inspired by the UN’s recent HeForShe initiative, the campaign seeks to achieve greater gender equality in the workplace by enlisting fathers directly and by raising awareness amongst men of the key feminist issues faced by contemporary working women. Prompted by years of anecdotal evidence from our ex-students, it is based on the firm belief that fathers, not just mothers, are in a strong position to effect change. We envisage a culture where men are proud to support equality, no longer feel worried about calling each other out for unconscious bias, and where feminism is no longer seen as a female preserve.
Never has the achievement of workplaces free from bias, pay inequality and glass ceilings for young women seemed more relevant. We have decided to make 15th March national Dads4Daughters Day, a day on which all fathers of daughters everywhere will be asked to pledge themselves to achieving greater gender equality in the workplace – the future workplace of their daughter.
When men become fathers of daughters, many report that their perspective on gender equality dramatically changes. They also become acutely aware of the challenges of achieving a work-life balance both for themselves and the women around them. As such, the programme also calls for recognition of modern ‘working fathers’ and the pressures placed upon them by gender expectations. When directly asked to consider if they would be happy for their daughters to work in a particular organisation, this can strike a real chord and motivate them to take real action. Moreover, many men are uniquely placed to take action and should be actively encouraged to do so.