How Fathers Can Help Their Daughters Succeed
In a 2016 article for Glamour, President Obama wrote about his commitment to being the kind of father who set the bar high for the other men his daughters would encounter as they became adults.
The ways fathers can help their daughters succeed, he wrote, include:
- Taking on the responsibility of fighting sexism
- Being aware of how gender stereotypes pervade our society
- Speaking up when you see a gender double standard
- Modeling an equal relationship with your partner
- Working to change the culture that limits the prospects of women and girls
The relationship a girl has with her father is extremely important to how well she succeeds in later life. Fathers set the tone for their daughters’ expectations of men. A father who shows his daughter how a man should behave increases the chance that she will demand equal treatment in her adult relationships.
Fathers’ Special Role in Their Daughters’ Lives
As Obama wrote about his two daughters, “It’s important that their dad is a feminist, because now that’s what they expect of all men.”
Fathers can help their daughters succeed by encouraging them, believing in them, and having frank discussions about sexism. As Jessica Stillman wrote in “5 Ways Fathers Can Raise Strong, Successful Daughters:”
“In a world where women’s voices are frequently undervalued or even silenced, the simple act of discussing important topics openly and respectfully with your daughter can teach her a valuable lesson — you are entitled to speak your mind and your opinion is as valid and valued as any other.”
June 21 is Father’s Day
This Sunday, June 21, 2020, marks the 110th anniversary of Father’s Day. The man who inspired Father’s Day, William Jackson Smart, was the twice-widowed father of fourteen children. His daughter, Sonora Smart Dodd, commented that “He was both father and mother to me and my brothers and sisters.” A single father at the age of 56, his youngest child only 7 or 8 at the time, Smart “exemplified fatherly love and protection.”
To the over 70 million fathers in the United States, I wish you a Happy Father’s Day this Sunday. To the fathers of girls, remember how important you are to helping your daughters succeed. May we continue to move toward, in Obama’s words, a country “where every single child can make of her life what she will.”