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Charlie Mullins: Any initiative encouraging more girls into our sector should be embraced

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It’s an American thing that started in the early 1990s, but if we’re going to adopt Halloween and pop tarts, then we could do a lot worse than get behind “take your daughter to work”, which seems to me to be a worthy way of introducing youngsters to the reality of what their parents do to put a crust on the table.

I guess I was ahead of my time with this since I brought both my daughters to work, and put them to work for Pimlico – and like my granddaughter, Daisy, they were coming into work on weekends and school holidays from a young age.

That said, I suppose it’s true that boys going to work with their dads is a much more common thing to see so “take your daughter to work” seems like a good idea to me.

One of the biggest influences on the future career choices of young people is still parents. Careers advice in schools and colleges is still not up to scratch in my opinion and who better to give first-hand advice on not just where to go to work, but why we need to work, than mum or dad.

For those that don’t know anything about it, “take your daughter to work” was created in New York in the summer of 1992 by the Ms. Foundation for Women and its president, Marie Wilson – with support from Foundation founder Gloria Steinem. 

The first celebration took place on Thursday 22 April 22 1993, and has since been celebrated on the 4th Thursday of April every year.

The day has generally been scheduled on a day that is a school day for most children in the US, and schools are provided with literature and encouraged to promote the programme. Educators are provided with materials for incorporating career exploration into the school curriculum on the day before or after the event.

Despite the obvious good intentions of the project there were some detractors who believed the day should also include boys. However, the Ms. Foundation contended that the programme was designed to specifically address self-esteem issues unique to girls and initially resisted pressure to include boys.

Much of this pressure came from people in education who did not wish to include the event in their curriculum given that their male students were not encouraged to participate.

Boys are now included and are able to take part, but the principles of the day remain the same, which is the most important part, including the need to bridge the gap between education and employment.

However, from the point of view of someone who runs a business that offers trade services like plumbing, electrical and roofing, any initiative to encourage more girls into our sector should be embraced.

Read more from Charlie Mullins: 

We’re right behind the #notjustforboys campaign and recently welcomed employment minister Esther McVey to our depot where she met quite a few of our female members of staff and was impressed with how we encourage girls into trade careers, but also in roles across all manner of departments. 

Yes we’re keen to have more girls working as engineers, but it’s also important that there is a strong gender mix across all areas of the business, from accounts and HR through to recruitment and our call centre. 

And that’s why last week we had members of our team accompanied by their princesses to show them what it’s like to work in a busy and fast-moving business.

Even if they don’t literally follow in the footsteps of their “old man”, getting a taste of what it’s like in the world of work, particularly from the perspective of their parents, is invaluable.

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