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What Your Daughters Should Know About Business and Entrepreneurship

American business is booming. Pick an industry and you are likely to see noticeable growth happening, even with the recent major changes thrown into the mix. Although the stock market may pessimistic at times, the overall bedrock of U.S. industry continues to thrive and expand. Even with new businesses popping up, consumers have long proved their willingness to spread the love (and their cash) and try out the newer kids on the block.  

With this consistent growth, also comes another statistic that is steadily increasing: female business owners and executives, as well as females in the general workforce, are not just successfully climbing the corporate ladder, but putting some serious cracks in the much-maligned glass ceiling. The slim prospects that young women saw 100 years ago seem more like a poorly written movie plot than actual history. As April 26th (Take Your Daughter/Kid to Work Day) approaches, a new generation of females will experience their first taste of the American business pie.

Where It Started

As with many great notions and movements, the concept for “Take Your Daughter To Work” found itself through a series of other events during the early nineties. Women were pushing for more equality in all areas of life beyond their front door. The turmoil caused by Anita Hill’s testimony against Clarence Thomas actually helped wedge the door into national government and politics further open for women. Inch by inch, feminism moved forward during the last decade of the twentieth century.

During this time, the Ms. Foundation, led by president Marie C. Wilson, researched how to keep the progress moving forward; what they found was a dire need to encourage and empower young girls and teens by showing them the opportunities that existed beyond their current world. Together with Carol Gilligan, Wilson developed the idea of young girls experiencing first-hand what women (and men) did at their jobs. “Take Your Daughter To Work” was born in 1993, and then almost immediately pushed into the national spotlight by feminist icon Gloria Steinem.

Make The Time Count

Whether you are an old pro or a newbie for “Take Your Daughter/Kid to Work,” this April 26th is a chance to make it so that both you and your child have a great experience.

A few tips:

  1. Make a plan - from the time your alarm clock blares until you are back home after work, create a schedule for how the day will flow. Some companies may have special events scheduled for April 26, so some planning may already be done for you.

  2. Crowd Source Advice - especially if you are a first-timer, check with your boss (and co-workers) for ideas of what to do with your child. You may even suggest a group activity with other coworkers’ children.

  3. Talk to your kid - as part of building your plan, get some insight from your daughter about the type of work she is interested in.

  4. Meet and greet - introduce your child to your colleagues, and if time/schedule allows, give your daughter an opportunity to ask questions and hear about other functions of your company.

How to Entrepreneur

Among the ideals that Marie Wilson and Carol Gilligan wanted to instill in young women was the truth that women can excel in the business world just like men. And even though the American business landscape seems crowded with major corporations, there is always room for people who are willing to take risks and start their own business. These people are known as entrepreneurs.

What should your daughter know about entrepreneurship?

  1. Knowledge really is power. Education is an essential element to success in any industry, and especially if your daughter dreams of running her own company someday. Does that mean she needs to rack up multiple academic degrees? Maybe. But sometimes, the necessary knowledge does not come from a classroom.
  1. Get some experience. In addition to education, experience in the industry/field where your child someday wants to own a business is a vital component of gaining knowledge. Many successful entrepreneurs got their start in their industry as interns. Many times, internships help open doors for your child that might have otherwise remained inaccessible.
  1. Time is money. One of the most consistent nuggets of advice from successful entrepreneurs is that your time is valuable and as much a commodity as whatever item or service you are selling. Your child must learn to put a price tag on his/her time and only “sell” it to those who can afford to pay. Not everyone or everything should get her time, and the business will function better if she learns how and when to offer her time.
  1. Know those friends of friends of friends. If your daughter wants to be a successful entrepreneur, she will have to market herself. In other words, she will have to network. In a generation being raised through social media, the idea of networking may not be that scary for your daughter since she probably already understands the basic tenets of how to network. And the heads of most successful start-up companies will agree that it is equally important to market the person as to market the company.

Spreading Her Wings

Perhaps one of the best lessons your daughter might learn from April 26th is how the “Take Your Daughter To Work” event came to be, and what was happening in the nation during that time with women and feminism and how it led to her being at work with you. In the end, what Marie Wilson and Carol Gilligan wanted for young women was to show them all they could accomplish outside of the current society’s expectations of their gender. Entrepreneurs are brave, accomplished, and organized individuals - fighters who are willing to take on their dream and make it happen. Just like Marie and Carol. And hopefully, just like your daughter.

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