Sunday, May 31, 2020

Book Review: Dads for Daughters by Michelle Travis

For Father’s Day, Dads for Daughters is a remarkable book that every father who has a daughter must read. Not only will the book inspire you to do the right thing, but you will learn how and why we got to this point. Only a legal expert with broad knowledge of labor and employment law, sex discrimination, Title IX, the judicial system, history, and relevant examples in each area, and who is a parent of confident, well-adjusted daughters could write this extraordinary work. That expert is Professor Michelle Travis.

The purpose of the book is to inspire dads of daughters to actively join the cause of making the world better for women and girls. In her call to action, Professor Travis invites us to imagine the impact if these men answered the call. From boardrooms to schools to the workplace to the sports field to the ballot box to any part of life, if fathers with daughters stood up for equality, things would change so much for the better.

And change they have in the dozens of accounts of dads with daughters that Professor Travis shares with us. There’s the electrical engineer who recognizes the need to inspire young girls to explore engineering and other STEM fields; the law firm chair who was among the first to sign the local bar association’s “No Glass Ceiling” commitment to increasing women partners; the dads with daughter employed by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare who saw to it that Title IX regulations require that girls are provided equal opportunity to compete in school sports; future hall of fame basketball coach Gregg Popovich and father of a daughter helped to break down barriers for women in professional sports coaching ranks; the not one but two U.S. Supreme Court Justices whose views on gender equality were influenced by the fact that at different points in their lives, they had to leave work early to pick up their grandchildren from school because their daughters were busy at work; the Brigadier General West Point Professor who became the headmaster at a K-12 school committed to reducing gender bias in educational materials and in the classroom; deficit hawk Senator Pete Domenici who pushed through full mental health parity funding after his experience with his own daughter’s mental health problems; and President Obama, with two well-known daughters who is proud of the fact that the first piece of legislation he signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Immigrants play a role in some important stories, like Qusi Alqarqaz who has helped to establish tech opportunities for women and Ray Umashakar who, with his daughter, established a nonprofit organization to help women and their daughters escape the sex trade. The book also includes cross-border examples such as the Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM) program which works with high school coaches in India, South Africa, and the U.S. to teach male athletes about respecting women.

Grounded in these and so many more interesting stories, Professor Travis provides details, facts, and data on gender inequality that should embarrass us as a nation. In 2020, we have so much more ground to cover in order to achieve equality for our daughters, wives, sisters, and mothers. Dads for Daughters is something that every father of daughters should read and join in the battle on their behalf. In fact, even fathers or men without daughters should read the book and join the battle.


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