Daughters of Dads Who Do Household Chores Grow Up with More Ambition

If you're a parent who wants to inspire your daughter to break down gender barriers with her eventual career choice, here's one way to go about it: New research shows that little girls who see their dads participating in household chores are more likely to want jobs in higher paying, traditionally male dominated fields.

From the Association of Psychological Science:

While mothers' gender and work equality beliefs were key factors in predicting kids' attitudes toward gender, the strongest predictor of daughters' own professional ambitions was their fathers' approach to household chores.

"This suggests girls grow up with broader career goals in households where domestic duties are shared more equitably by parents," says psychology researcher and study author Alyssa Croft, a PhD Candidate in the University of British Columbia's Department of Psychology. "How fathers treat their domestic duties appears to play a unique gatekeeper role."

When asked by Croft and her team about what they wanted to be when they grew up, little girls with dads who shared housework with their partners were more likely to respond that they wanted to be doctors, police officers and scientists. The girls with fathers who didn't participate in chores replied with more traditionally female careers like nursing, teaching or being a stay-at-home mom.

While dads might tell their daughters that their aspirations shouldn't be restricted by gender, Croft points out that showing is better than telling.

"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," Croft notes. "...'Talking the talk' about equality is important, but our findings suggest that it is crucial that dads 'walk the walk' as well — because their daughters clearly are watching."

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