Who would’ve guessed that men doing housework could help determine your child’s success?
Alyssa Croft, a Ph.D. candidate in the University of British Columbia’s Department of Psychology, conducted a study whose results will soon be published in the journal Psychological Science. The findings? Girls who see their fathers pitching in on house chores — i.e. washing the dishes — are more likely to aspire to non-traditional careers like scientists or business leaders.
The researchers interviewed parents asking about their beliefs in gender roles and how they divided chores around the house. They also spoke with daughters about gender roles and what careers they could see themselves having in the future.
Croft found that the mothers’ and fathers’ ideas about gender roles did influence their daughters’ beliefs, but that a stronger predictor of what the girls wanted to be as adults was the division of domestic labor at home.
The daughters responded according to the dads’ actions, not their words. Girls with fathers who didn’t help with household chores were more likely to want traditional female careers such as stay-at-home-moms, teachers, nurses, or librarians. Those who saw their fathers helping clean, cook, and watch the kids dreamed of a broader set of jobs that were often higher-paying than those in woman-dominated fields.
“It’s very important for fathers to not only talk the talk about gender roles, but also to walk the walk, because their daughters seem to be watching.” Croft says in a YouTube video explaining the study.
“Despite our best efforts to try to create workplace equality, women remain severely under-represented in leadership and management positions,” Croft told the Association for Psychological Science. “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.”
So moms, let the dads clear the table tonight. Your daughter will thank you for it in the future.