I’m writing this letter on behalf of your daughters and granddaughters. Here are some statistics you should pay attention to:
1) As I’ve told you in a previous column, the majority of women employed at Fortune 500 companies have been stuck at the bottom of the leadership totem pole, according to a census study released in 2006 by Catalyst, an organization that tracks women in business.
2) The college majors that offer top-dollar salaries upon graduation are chemical engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering and mechanical engineering, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
According to the American Association of University Women, men account for 82 percent of engineering majors. In other words, women are taking themselves out of the running for this high-paying field before they even enter the job market.
3) As pointed out in a recent Portfolio.com article, “Private equity firms [which make up a $400 billion industry] have some of the thickest glass ceilings in all of finance, employing few women and hardly any in top dealmaking positions.”
Time and time again, one reason given for the absence of women from high-paying and power-player positions is a lack of mentors. Here’s your cue, dads — you are the grassroots mentors (and of course moms are too, but Father’s Day only happens once a year so I’m dedicating this one to the dads).
Make sure you remind your little (or grown) girl often that she can do whatever she can dream in life. Be sure to tell her about the many options open to her. Encourage her to speak her mind and explore different opportunities as often as possible. Never underestimate the influence you have on her outlook on life; I know from experience that that influence is indeed powerful.
Now, I’m not saying your daughter has to be an engineer, or a CEO or a private equity dealmaker. I'm just saying that too often, young women aren't even told about the realm of possibilities available to them in the working world. I'm betting you don’t make decisions in life without investigating all of your options. So, don't let her make that mistake.
Happy Father’s Day! E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me about your daughter and either a) what she wants to be when she grows up or b) her story of success. Or, ladies, tell me what you learned from your dad that has had an impact on your professional choices in life. Next week, I’ll share what some of you have to say.
"Minding Her Business" is a column that covers issues affecting women in business and in the workplace. Female professionals (and male, too, if they wish) can use this resource to network, ask questions, receive and offer advice, share personal experiences … and you don’t ever have to leave your office. Just e-mail email@example.com. E-mails are subject to editing for length and content.