The Daughter Influence

At Generation W, men have always been an important part of the gender equality conversation. “Bringing men into the conversation in a productive and open-minded way is a crucial step to actually making progress on issues of gender inequality,” writes Jane Porter for Fast Company.  We have witnessed this type of sustainable progress as men in our community intentionally bring more women into the leadership pipeline of their companies and speak out against gender-focused violence and discrimination. And, the men that seem to be clearing a seat at the table for women more readily are those who have women in their lives where this type of equality has an immediate impact: their daughters.

Yes, daughters reap the benefits from a powerful and positive father-daughter relationship, but what more studies are finding is that the powerful and positive impact goes both ways. Men with daughters tend to support public and business policies addressing gender equality, they vote more liberally on women’s issues such as reproductive rights and family leave, and they are overall more concerned about the environment and their communities.  “I have to admit that when you’re the father of two daughters, you become even more aware of how gender stereotypes pervade our society. You see the subtle and not-so-subtle social cues transmitted through culture. You feel the enormous pressure girls are under to look and behave and even think a certain way,” said Barack Obama in an essay for Glamour magazine.  “It’s important for them to see role models out in the world who climb to the highest levels of whatever field they choose. And yes, it’s important that their dad is a feminist because now that’s what they expect of all men.”

We couldn’t agree more.  Now more than ever our daughters need dads who are feminists, men who are working each and every day to elevate the voices of women and girls everywhere.

This Father’s Day, we celebrate all those men who are leaning in and stepping up–those who are making positive contributions toward true gender equality.  Leveling the playing field for women cannot happen if men are not part of the conversation and if daughters are a catalyst to this type of change in attitude and action, then there is a lot we can be happy about this Father’s Day weekend.

“All of a sudden my will, my longing, for a society rid of discrimination has fused with that primal need to nurture my daughters and protect their rights…As feminism used to just be a political issue among others, nowadays it’s within my fabric.”

“As a father of two girls, a 3-year-old and 7-year-old. They generally decide when they want to conform to gender stereotypes and when it does not suit their purposes. They like Tinkerbell and Ben10. They like fairies and Thomas the Tank Engine. One likes playing with dolls and one does not. The one that likes playing with dolls also likes dressing up as Spiderman. The one that doesn’t like dolls likes dressing up as a princess. You need to treat them as themselves and leave behind preconceived ideas about who they should be.”

“It made me more aware of how most female characters in movies/tv are defined by their relationships to men.”

“Everything about me has slowly changed for the better, due to my daughter.”

“Because of my daughter, now every experience I have with a woman is associated with that relationship. I know that they were once my daughter’s age and someone cared for them as I do my daughter.”

“I have a 3-year-old that constantly gets called cute, adorable, beautiful, etc. and she is, but I’ve taken to teaching her to respond ‘Thank you! And I’m smart too’. I realized that we do our little girls an injustice when we focus on their appearance and ignore their intelligence. It becomes what they focus on and I’ve come to realize the utter stupidity of it.”

“I have a little girl of just 9 months. So far it has turned me into a feminist – I don’t want her to grow up being told she can’t do something because she’s a girl.”

“Oddly, I have become aware of what a good role model Miss Piggy is: career woman, forthright, funny. Girls rule!”

“One more thing, you’re not a real Dad until you put nail polish on your daughter and she returns the favor.”


*quotes from dads via Reddit