Dads who do household chores more likely to have ambitious daughters: study
This photo taken Oct. 13, 2009 shows Peter Worden reading the ingredients of a box as he fixes dinner for his family at their home in Chatham, N.J. (AP / Mel Evans)
Corinne Ton That, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, May 28, 2014 3:03PM EDT
To all the dads out there: if you want your daughters to aspire to high-paying careers, you might have to start doing some extra chores around the house.
A new study conducted by a group of psychologists at the University of British Columbia suggests that fathers who perform household chores, like cleaning dishes and doing laundry, are more likely to raise daughters who aspire to less-traditional female careers, such as becoming a CEO or lawyer.
And while a mother’s views on equality is a key factor in influencing children’s attitudes towards gender roles, researchers found that it was the father’s approach to household chores that was the strongest predictor of career ambitions.
“This suggests girls grow up with broader career goals in households where domestic duties are shared more equitably by parents,” said Alyssa Croft, lead author of the study and PhD candidate at UBC, in a statement. “How fathers treat their domestic duties appears to play a unique gatekeeper role.”
Croft also found that when fathers endorsed gender equality but didn’t perform household chores, their daughters were more likely to envision themselves in stereotypical female jobs such as nursing, teaching, or becoming a stay-at-home-mom.
“Talking the talk about equality is important, but our findings suggest that it is crucial that dads walk the walk as well because their daughters are clearly watching,” said Croft.
The study involved a survey of 326 children between seven and 13 years old, and at least one of their parents. Researchers analyzed how chores and paid labour were divided in each household.
They found that both parents and children were still more likely to associate domestic work with women rather than men.
“Despite our best efforts to create workplace equality, women remain severely under-represented in leadership and management positions,” said Croft. “This study is important because it suggests that achieving gender equality at home may be one way to inspire young women to set their sights on careers from which they have traditionally been excluded.”
The study, titled “The Second Shift Reflected in the Second Generation: Do Parents’ Gender Roles at Home Predict Children’s Aspirations,” will be published in the scientific journal Psychological Science.