Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dad + Daughter = Less Gender Stereotyping

For 20 years, I've shared stories of dads and daughter which show how having a daughter or stepdaughter can (and should) change a man's perspective on our culture's treatment of women, and gender equity in particular.

Now, in a recent article in the journal Social Forces (90 (1): 209-222), researchers Emily Fitzgibbons Shafer and Neil Malhotra have some data to support this idea.

They report that both men who have children (regardless of the child's gender) show a decrease in support for traditional gender roles, but that men who have daughters show a much steeper decline.

As their abstract states:
We examine whether sex of child affects parents' beliefs about traditional gender roles. Using an improved methodological approach that explicitly analyzes the natural experiment via differences in differences, we find that having a daughter (vs. having a son) causes men to reduce their support for traditional gender roles, but a female child has no such effect among women, representing less than 4 percent of the size of the standard deviation of the attitude scale.
Has this been your experience? Share your stories of how the world looks different when you start seeing it through the eyes of your daughter and/or stepdaughter.