When Gloria Steinem and the Ms. Foundation for Women founded the Take Our Daughters to Work program in 1993, they did so with the goal of improving girls' awareness of the many career opportunities available to them. Twenty years later, we're still celebrating this important event, but with some major changes to its original intent.

The Changing Face of Take Our Daughters to Work Day

Since the beginning, girls have been invited into workplaces across the country for Take Our Daughters to Work Day on the fourth Thursday of every April. However, somewhere along the way (amidst criticism that boys were being excluded), the name was officially changed to Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

According to the website for the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation, the current program:

"…Encourages boys and girls across the country to dream without gender limitations and to think imaginatively about their family, work, and community lives… Children learn that a family-friendly work environment is an employer and family issue and not just a women's issue."

On the surface it sounds impressive, that we're shifting gender norms and demanding that men and employers share responsibility for issues that have traditionally fallen so squarely on the shoulders of women. But despite the tremendous strides we've made in the past 20 years, women still have a lot left to fight for, and we're not doing our daughters any favors by pretending that our battles have all been won.

Are Our Daughters Losing Out?

This year, Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day falls on Thursday, April 25. There are many wonderful reasons to participate, and girls — and boys — can learn a lot from exposure to the world beyond the classroom. Still, I can't help but mourn the loss of a program that was originally designed to meet the specific needs of our daughters.

Maternity leave. Family flex time. Equal pay for equal work. You can argue that they're men's issues too, but the reality is that they still affect women — and women's career choices — more. As young girls, our daughters still need to be made aware of the unique challenges they will face in their careers, and they still need to see real-life examples of other women navigating those challenges successfully.

Unfortunately, now that we're including the boys, and thereby shifting the focus of the entire program, I'm not convinced they're going to get that opportunity.

What do you think? Are girls being shortchanged by allowing boys to participate in the program too? Or am I overreacting?