About two months ago my family flew from Burbank to Seattle. My parents live near Seattle so we've made this trip at least four times with all of the kids. I have three children, ranging in age from four to eleven; the oldest is a boy, the other two are girls.
As we boarded the plane, my four-year-old daughter Samantha and I had the following conversation:
"Daddy, I think planes are really cool."
"Me too. You know, you could be a pilot when you grow up and fly a plane like this."
"No I can't."
"Huh, what do you mean, of course you can! You can can do anything you want!"
"But Daddy, all pilots are men."
It was at that point I realized Samantha had never seen a female pilot or co-pilot. Not once. So, even though my wife and I think of ourselves as progressive parents who support any dream our kids may have, my daughter had observed the world and had concluded, at four years old, that women can't be pilots.
I'll be honest, this was surprising and depressing to hear. My wife and I talked about it for days afterward. Then I saw Sheryl on The Daily Show and I knew I had to take action. I have to be part of really changing the world, not just talking about it. And I don't want to wait another generation. My oldest daughter is six, so I figure I have a decade or so to help create real change. Hopefully it starts in a small way with the sharing of this story.