Apr 16, 2024 - Sports

Girl dads: Seize your moment

Illustration of a young girl dressed as a superhero standing on a large hand.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

In a news meeting last week, ahead of the NCAA women's final, an Axios colleague asked, "Is this the year of the Girl Dad?" It is, and fellas, let's not miss the moment.

Why it matters: Women have built tremendous momentum across our society, and Dads can keep it rolling if they support their girls in following their arrow.

The big picture: It's not the year of the Girl Dad just because of basketball. It's our moment because there are female leaders everywhere our girls might want to go.

Consider these incomplete lists from a few prominent sectors:

  • Music: Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, Nicki Minaj and Dolly Parton
  • Hollywood: Greta Gerwig; Pamela Abdy, co-chair and CEO, Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group; and so many more
  • Athletes: Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese and Dawn Staley; Simone Biles; Alyssa Naeher and the USWNT; Simone Biles; Serena Williams
  • Business: Karen Lynch, CVS; Jane Fraser, Citigroup; Gail Boudreaux, Elevance Health; Togethxr; and the Business of Women's Sports Summit
  • Philanthropy: Mackenzie Scott; Melinda French Gates
  • Education: Women lead four Ivy League universities (Brown, Columbia, Cornell, and Dartmouth). My Jesuit alma mater, Fordham University, tapped Tania Tetlow as its first lay president.
  • U.S. government: Kamala Harris is vice president, and one of seven women in President Biden's Cabinet. Then there are 13 female governors, 25 senators and 129 congresswomen.

Reality check: Work remains to be done. Women make up half the population — yet parity remains wanting in media coverage and pay equity. And now there's a backlash against diversity efforts.

What's next: Empower your girls to chase their dreams. Be an ally and learn from them.

  • Throw a ball with them, talk math with them, listen to their music, let them choose the movie. Try to understand what drives them.
  • Set the example for your son(s).

Why it matters to me: My three daughters have — in 23, 19 and 16 years — shown me more about myself than I knew I needed to know.

  • The least I can do is position them for success, and encourage them to chase their dreams. It will bear fruit.

Cases in point: Our oldest daughter earns her doctorate from Northeastern this month.

  • Our second was welcomed into the honor society for her major at University of Vermont.
  • And our third daughter decided to be a field hockey goalie. Next year will be her third year on high school varsity, and we've already collected this picture below. Top that.
Photo of George Moriarty, his daughter Cara and wife Regina
Following a win vs. the #1 team in the conference. Photo courtesy of the Moriarty family

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note women lead four (not three) Ivy League universities.

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