As Father’s Day approaches, it’s a great time to reflect on the impact our fathers have had on our lives.
My parents had three daughters and one son. My dad strongly believed that his daughters would go to college at a time when families were investing in their sons’ college education and weren’t always sending their daughters to four-year universities. My dad is an ardent believer that girls and boys can be anything they want to be. He has been my biggest lifetime cheerleader.
In 2013, Harvard Business School conducted research about the role mothers and fathers have on career choices of their children. The research found that fathers are the “gatekeepers” to their daughter’s career dreams. Fathers who are egalitarian in their beliefs and actions around housework and childrearing have daughters who envision themselves with a career.
Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico, Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup, and Denise’s sister, Maggie Wilderotter, CEO of Frontier Communications, credit their fathers with the career success they have achieved. All three have publicly stated that their fathers had a continual message and belief that their daughters could accomplish anything they set their minds on achieving.
Father’s Day is a day spent thanking our fathers and appreciating the love and sacrifice they have made for us. As a reciprocal gift, fathers should continue to be a contributor and champion of their daughters’ dreams by demonstrating true partnership at home.
One of the most powerful true stories about the bond between a father and daughter is Standing Up After Saigon. Thuhang Tran was diagnosed with polio as a toddler and became separated from her father for 15 years after the Vietnam War ended. After reuniting with him in the US, she had surgery that enabled her to stand upright after crawling on the ground for 17 years. Her father is her biggest advocate and now he follows her career by moving whenever her job requires it.