When fathers espouse and enact a more equal distribution of domestic work, their daughters more easily envision balancing work with family and having a less gender-stereotypic career.

 
 

Gender inequality at home continues to constrain gender equality at work. How does the observation of gender disparities in domestic labor between parents predict their children’s vision for their future roles? The present research examined how parents’ behaviors and implicit associations concerning domestic roles, over and above their explicit beliefs, predict their children’s future aspirations. Data from 326 children aged 7 to 13 revealed that mothers’ explicit gender role beliefs about domestic roles predicted those same beliefs held by their children. Importantly, when fathers enacted or espoused a more egalitarian distribution of household labor, their daughters in particular expressed a greater interest in working outside the home and having a less stereotypic occupation. Fathers’ implicit gender role associations also uniquely predicted daughters’ (but not sons’) occupational preferences. Findings suggest that a more balanced division of household labor among parents might promote greater workforce equality in future generations.

 

The Second Shift Reflected in the Second Generation: Do Parents’ Gender Roles at Home Predict Children’s Aspirations?

Alyssa Croft, Toni Schmader, Katharina Block & Andrew Scott Baron - University of British Columbia, March 2014