Good news for stereotype-busters everywhere: fathers who share household duties and chores with their partners are more likely to raise daughters who aspire to a wide range of careers, including ones typically held by men.
The research, which will be published in Psychological Science, suggests that while a mother's attitudes on work and gender roles influence their children's beliefs on those subjects, a father's participation in household duties seems to have a uniquely powerful effect on whether or not his daughters will aspire to a wide range of careers. (It's unclear how this research impacts non-traditional families, but we'd love to know.)
And it's not enough for dads to say they'll do the dishes tonight; they actually have to do the work for the effect to occur. In other words, talk is cheap (looking at you, Hugo Schwyzer), and daughters see right through it.
Here's some more information on the study, which was conducted by the University of British Columbia:
The study findings indicate that how parents share dishes, laundry and other domestic duties plays a key role in shaping the gender attitudes and aspirations of their children, especially daughters.
While mothers’ gender and work equality beliefs were key factors in predicting kids’ attitudes toward gender, the strongest predictor of daughters’ own professional ambitions was their fathers’ approach to household chores ...
The study involved 326 children aged 7-13 and at least one of their parents. For each household, researchers calculated the division of chores and paid labor. They also determined the career stereotypes that participants identified with, their gender and work attitudes and children’s career aspirations.
The message is pretty simple: Dads, do some work around the house every once in a while! Your daughters will thank you later.
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