You are here

Why Mothers and Fathers Should Split the Housework

June 16, 2014
Jessica Samakow

If dads want their daughters to pursue less traditionally gender-stereotypical careers, they'd better get to cooking and cleaning, a new study suggests.

The study, which will be published in the next issue of Psychological Science, concludes that it isn't enough for dads to just speak about gender equality; they must demonstrate equal division of duties at home for their daughters to absorb the message and become more ambitious when it comes to a career.

When 326 children, ages 7-13, were surveyed, the researchers found that in the homes where dads weren't pulling their weight, girls were more likely to predict a future roles for themselves including nurse, teacher, or librarian. Psychology researcher and study author, Alyssa Croft, told NYMag that girls whose parents split housework said they wanted to be police officers, doctors, accountants and scientists.

“Despite our best efforts to create workplace equality, women remain severely under-represented in leadership and management positions,” Croft said in a press release. “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,” she added.

In the video above, Croft further explains her findings and the importance of her conclusion.

Past research has indicated that moms still do most of the housework, even with the increase in dual-working parent households. A 2013 Pew study found that, on average, mothers spend 31 hours a week doing "unpaid work," compared to 17 hours for fathers.

And while Croft's research gives men an excellent reason to do the dishes, The Guardian's Jessica Valenti has another idea: "Perhaps men should do the dishes not because of a potential sociological impact on their female offspring, but because the dishes are dirty and women aren't the only ones who eat dinner off of them."

Read More