A few families with sons turned the third annual Take Our Daughters to Work Day into a coed experience in Spokane.
“The boys need it as much as the girls,” said Greg Stintzi, who brought his son, Ryan, to his insurance agency Thursday.
Stintzi’s last-minute decision to bring Ryan, 7, was not deeply pondered. The boy complained Thursday morning that his sister, Teagan, was getting to miss school to go to work at Lamonts with their grandmother.
“He was bawling his head off this morning,” Stintzi said. “I kind of had to bring him.”
An estimated 7 million to 10 million girls took part this year, and governors in 21 states endorsed the day. In addition, countries from Canada to England, Australia to Chile planned activities.
The Ms. Foundation for Women sponsors the event as a way to boost girls’ self-esteem and encourage them to consider non-traditional careers. The foundation wants to keep the day focused on adolescent girls, and some Spokane parents agree.
“Daughters need to understand there’s a place for them in the workplace,” said Sacajawea Middle School teacher Jeannette Landry, who brought her 7-year-old daughter to work, even though her 11-year-old son thought it was unfair.
“People think this is something extra for girls,” said Jan Polek, gender equity program manager for the Community Colleges of Spokane. “The point is to bring girls up to equity. They have not had these experiences and have not been talked to in this way about work. We do talk to boys this way.”
A growing number of companies - including Ford Motor Co., Gerber Products Co. and Chrysler Corp. - held “Take Your Children to Work” events instead.
Mountain View Middle School in the East Valley School District got an overwhelming response from parents when it encouraged involvement by both sons and daughters. Almost 400 out of 555 students missed school and went to work.
“Any given thing can become a reverse discrimination,” said Principal Susan Kincaid. “Who’s to say with any individual boy there isn’t a need to broaden his view of career options?”
Jordan Christ, 10, worked with his grandmother in the lingerie department at Lamonts in Manito Shopping Center.
“I got to hang up dresses, dust, and cut up cardboard boxes,” he said. His cousin, Teagan Stintzi, 9, also worked at Lamonts with their grandmother, Gay Nell Schell.
Lou Courchaine brought her 13-year-old son, Jared Taylor, to the kindergarten class she teaches at Hutton Elementary.
“I think it’s neat for him to realize how hard his mother works,” she said.
Boys’ involvement seemed the exception to the rule, however.
At Sacajawea Middle School, four boys and 85 girls were absent because they were at work. At Hutton Elementary, three boys and 18 girls were out for the event.