Launched in 2015 at St Paul’s Girls’ School and partly inspired by UNWomen’s HeForShe initiative, Dads4Daughters is a campaign which 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 alumnae, 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.
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.
We have declared 15th March to be national Dads4Daughters Day, a day on which all fathers of daughters everywhere are asked to pledge themselves to achieving greater gender equality in the workplace – the future workplace of their daughter. We are proud that the initiative has gained traction both nationally and internationally. We have signed a memorandum of understanding with UNWomen, many schools and organisations now mark the day with events for fathers and daughters and we have developed our own unconscious bias test. You can read more here.