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.