A recent study completed by the University of British Columbia, in British Columbia, Canada has shown inspiring results that men who play a supportive domestic role through housework and cooking duties raise daughters who are more likely to take on a less traditional approach to the world. The research found that women raised in households where men did more chores aspired to higher paying, less “female oriented” positions in big business and other industries worldwide.
The Gender Barrier
Although it is considered to be the age of quality, the statistics gathered through various studies and polls still provide the world with evidence that the workforce isn’t exactly the symmetrical system that you’d like it to be. More and more women are finding themselves taking on positions of high power, and less “feminine” positions throughout offices globally, but the ratio of men to women within these industries leave the female numbers at the low end of the spectrum. For this reason, among many others, it’s impressive to see that this gender barrier is being broken once again, and producing more free thinking, empowered young women to take on the world and help even the playing field a little. The surprising part of this news isn’t that female numbers are rising, but who has inspired them to do so; sciencedaily.com reports: “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.”
This might come as a shock to you, if you were expecting, like many others that females would be inspired by mothers and other female role models in their lives, and while this may be true on some levels, this newest study supports just the opposite.
The Male Role Model
This masculine game changer shouldn’t be such a surprise to men or women, as it has long been said that women often make choices based on their relationships with their fathers. This is usually in reference to choosing male mates, but it works in the world of business as well. If a child is brought up believing that men and women are equal, and can not only hear the words from parents, but also see them through the actions in the household then she is far more likely to go through life truly believing that she can do and be whatever she wants. The Association For Psychological Science states: “The study results suggest that parents’ domestic actions may speak louder than words. Even when fathers publicly endorsed gender equality, if they retained a traditional division of labor at home, their daughters were more likely to envision themselves in traditionally female-dominant jobs, such as nurse, teacher, librarian or stay-at-home-mom.”
This has been seen in other studies concerning male and female related behaviors before, including finding evidence that females from families in which the only driver is male; usually don’t get their license until much later in life, if at all. Whereas, families with male and female drivers parenting the household are more likely to produce daughters who will learn to drive early in life, around the same age as boys of the household begin learning, which is usually 16.
How The Results Were Concluded
The study was undertaken by the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, and concluded their findings through results found within a study group of 356 children ranging between the ages of seven and thirteen, and their parents. Each home was researched to determine the division of chores done at home and work down outside of the home to pay the bills. Career stereotypes were also studied between members of the trial, and researchers carefully calculated work attitudes and each child’s aspirations as far as their future careers were concerned. Of those studied, most parents and children both associated domestic work and childcare as being a role of the mother, rather than the father. Female children were also more enthusiastic about taking on a role in which childcare and domestic work would be their lifestyle over young males.
Zosia Bielski of The Globe and Mail writes: “The data showed mothers doing disproportionately more around the house even when both parents worked full-time outside the home. Still, in homes where fathers pitched in even a little, daughters held broader career goals.”
This was contrasting to the homes in which fathers seemed open to gender equality but didn’t put in the labor at home to prove that they found their spouses to be their equals. In those homes, female children were less inclined to pursue non-female oriented jobs, and were content to work within careers that had been defined by women such as caretaking and cleaning.
What This Means For Little Boys
Despite what the statistics were within each household, and how the daughters were affected by parental roles within the homes, little boys within these same houses had no difference in aspiration. Almost all males chose traditionally male careers and ambitions such as law, medicine, and the positions that even now hold a masculine stigma such as policeman and fireman. This isn’t to say that those boys in homes where fathers are giving domestic help won’t grow up to be more helpful as well; the study just proves that they just aren’t aiming their job sights on domestic duties. Hopefully, these changes continue to evolve throughout modern homes, and future parents supply their children with the same equality at home.