Mother and Baby

Raising girls ‘changes fathers’ views on gender stereotypes’, says study

When it comes to raising a family, a topical discussion at the moment is around bringing up your children in a way that won't reinforce damaging gender stereotypes.

It’s a popular and wide-spanning topic. From John Lewis choosing to remove all gender labels from its kids' clothing range to mums feuding over whether Kinder Eggs should be more ‘gender neutral’, issues around gender are clearly topical at the moment, especially when it comes to child-rearing.

New research suggests...

An interesting new study suggests that one way to break down our gender-biased society is for men to simply raise girls. The research from the London School of Economics (LSE) indicates that fathers are less likely to hold traditional views about gender roles if they raise a girl.

It found that fathers' likelihood of harbouring traditional views declined by 8% when their daughters reached primary school age and then 11% by secondary age.

What were the parents asked?

Researchers based the study on information from two surveys of UK adults, spanning two decades from 1991 to 2012.

Parents were asked to give their response to this gender biased statement: "A husband's job is to earn money; a wife's job is to look after the home and family," on a five-point scale ranging from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree".

What did the results show?

The results of the report suggested that men with daughters were more likely to disagree with traditional attitudes than those without - provided the daughter was school-aged.

"Attitudes towards gender norms seem to be malleable to experiences during adulthood such as parenting a daughter, thus suggesting that indirect exposure to disadvantage has the potential to change people's attitudes."

Co-author of the report Julia Philipp commented: "Traditional attitudes towards gender roles can be a barrier to achieving gender equality inside and outside the workplace.

“So our evidence that such attitudes can change over time is very encouraging."

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