- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 25, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) Starting next year, boys will get to punch the clock, too.
After a decade of successfully promoting "Take Our Daughters To Work Day," its feminist organizers said they will open the annual event to sons as well.
Today will be the 10th and final daughters-only day. In April 2003, the Ms. Foundation for Women will promote "Take Our Daughters & Sons To Work Day."
"It's a work in progress in terms of the details, but not in terms of the aim, which is creating truly equitable work places," Marie Wilson, the foundation president, said in an interview Tuesday.
She said the initiative, like its predecessor, would highlight career opportunities, but also would include an emphasis on the challenges of balancing work and family. Background materials for the program will be distributed to businesses and schools this fall.
Begun in 1993, Take Our Daughters To Work Day caught on in many communities, often with the backing of employers, civic leaders and school officials. Millions of families have participated, and the program has been praised for expanding the career aspirations of many girls.
The decision to include boys in the program disappointed Nell Merlino, who worked with the Ms. Foundation to create Take Our Daughters To Work Day.
"The day has never been something against boys it's pro-girl," said Ms. Merlino, a New York-based consultant. "It's eight hours where girls get a special kind of attention they don't get the rest of the time."
The National Organization for Women, a staunch supporter of Take Our Daughters To Work, had argued in the past against including sons.
"Treating boys and girls as if they face identical constraints and opportunities fails to address either boys' or girls' realities," a recent NOW statement said.
Ms. Wilson said the Ms. Foundation hopes the program will encourage girls and boys to think about inequities at work and the competing demands of work and family. Most men want a family friendly work schedule, and yet the public finds it more acceptable for fathers to work overtime than mothers, she said.
Despite its success, Take Our Daughters To Work Day encountered occasional opposition. One conservative group, the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, called it a "stealth feminist holiday that breeds victimology in girls."
Officials in Fostoria, Ohio, disavowed the April event two years ago and instead encouraged boys and girls to join their parents at work on a weekday after school recessed for the summer.
In California, a man filed a civil rights suit last month against the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors for its support of Take Our Daughters to Work Day, saying the event discriminates against boys.
The suit, filed by Joe Manthey in U.S. District Court, said public agencies cannot sponsor events that exclude participation based on sex. Sonoma County officials noted that, in addition to the daughters day, they also supported a coed Take Your Children To Work Day.
Ms. Wilson said the revision of the program was not a result of criticism or litigation.

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