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Dads Who Do Housework Have Daughters With Ambition

November 13, 2014

Dads who demonstrate their views of gender equality produce daughters who don’t see gender as a barrier to their career success. We all talk about how important it is for men to do housework, but not many people realize that when fathers do housework, their daughters don’t assume that housework is a career option for them. A new study points out that when fathers do household maintenance, their daughters talk about attaining higher level careers:

…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.

It’s not a stretch to believe that daughters watch their father’s actions closely, and that the way the fathers’ act has the capacity to impact their daughters’ lives. What is interesting is that the research study points to measurable actions that have measurable outcomes. Dads, want to help your daughters succeed? Do the dishes. Pretty simple and pretty easy to execute.

I am not alone in this discussion of how powerful and motivating a father’s actions are, as opposed to just stating that the father is in favor of gender equality–actions speak louder than words:

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. 

Dads, if you want your daughter to succeed, just do the dishes. Pretty easy. Pretty life-changing.

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