Dads Who Do Dishes Raise Ambitious Daughters(?)
I have read the academic journal article behind the popular report below and must advise caution about the assertions below.
For a start, the sampling underlying the article was a mess. Respondents were recruited from visitors to a Canadian science center so would have been solidly middle class -- and the authors (Croft et al) even then had data for both parents for only 27% of their sample.
More importantly, however, I think the results can be fully explained by saying that parental attitudes towards sex roles tend to be transmitted to their children -- which is not much of a surprise. Fathers with less traditional attitudes tended to raise children with less traditional attitudes. Nothing new there, with the results explicable on both genetic and learning grounds. As has been known since the '80s, social attitudes are highly transmissable genetically
Dads who equally divided the drudgery of household chores with their wives tended to have daughters whose “when I grow up” aspirations were less gender-stereotypical, suggests an upcoming paper in Psychological Science.
Moms’ work-equality beliefs did also color their daughters’ attitudes toward gender roles, but this study found that a stronger predictor of girls’ career goals was the way their dads handled domestic duties. The daughters of parents who shared housework were more likely to tell the researchers they wanted to be a police officer, a doctor, an accountant, or a "scientist (who studies germs to help doctors find what medicine each patient needs)," lead author Alyssa Croft wrote via email, quoting one little girl in the study.
Here’s more from the Association for Psychological Science:
"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.
Even feminist fathers who fail to lift a finger around the house might be unconsciously telling their daughters that housework equals women's work, this study suggests. So, dads: Do the damn dishes already."