A recent study has found that fathers who help with household chores are more likely to raise daughters who have higher career aspirations. The study shows that children’s gender attitudes and aspirations are related to how parents share domestic jobs such as dishes, laundry, or vacuuming.
While the mom of the household plays an important role in teaching gender and work equality to her children, it was the father’s attitude towards household chores that noticeably shaped their daughters beliefs. Fathers who regularly participated in domestic duties more often had daughters who strived for less traditional, and often higher paying, careers.
This is a textbook example of actions speaking louder than words. Even when fathers supported and taught their daughters about gender equality, it did not have the same effect as actively participating in household responsibilities. Daughters who experienced a traditional labor division at home (mom doing the cleaning) were more likely to picture themselves in traditionally female-dominant jobs: nurse, librarian, stay-at-home mom.
This discovery touches upon the greater societal issue of gender equality and equality in the workplace. Psychologist Alyssa Croft led the study, and stressed the importance of her findings. “This study is important because it suggests that achieving gender equality at home may be the one way to inspire young women to set their sights on careers from which they have traditionally been excluded.”
When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. If young girls grow up watching mom do the cleaning and never dad, they will learn that this is a female oriented job. If they grow up watching both parents make an effort, their beliefs on what women can achieve will be much more positive. All the more reason to ask Dad to do the dishes tonight!