A Closer Look at Fathers' Day

By: Calla Gilson

Closing up at work last evening, one of the guys from utility asked if we needed any help cleaning up in concessions. My coworker responded, “sure, let him take out the trash, that’s a manly job.” No one batted an eye at the phrase, “manly job”. When did cars, trash and plumbing become “manly” jobs? In the 21st century, we’ve certainly made progress moving past the stereotypical domesticated housewife image. The emergence of male nannies, or “mannys”, and even stay at home fathers have been central to eroding decades of a maternal primary child care. Yet when it comes to chores and housework do we still distinguish specific duties to respective sexes?

A recent study shows that a home that shares traditional household chore responsibilities between mom and dad can actually positively affect the daughters brought up in it. Published in the journal Psychological Science, the study included 326 children aged seven to 13 and at least one of their parents. Researchers figured the balance of divided chores and paid labor, and analyzed what career stereotypes the parents fit into. It was the role of fathers in the home that had the most striking influence on the career aspirations of their daughters. The study concluded that “fathers who help with chores are more likely to raise daughters who aspire to less traditional, and potentially more lucrative, careers like accountancy and medicine.” These findings make a bold statement about where the fight for equality and the aspiration for high achievement are founded.

In a UK Telegraph article, Alyssa Croft, a PhD Candidate in the University of British Columbia’s Department of Psychology said “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.” The actions of a father can speak louder than words in this respect. “Even when fathers publicly endorsed gender equality, if they retained a traditional division of labor at home, their daughters were more likely to see themselves in traditionally female-dominant jobs, such as nurse, teacher, librarian or stay-at-home-mom.” This “unique gatekeeper role” that fathers play provides some food for thought about the incorporation of an oft over-looked demographic that needs to be included in the gender equality movement. The example set by father can inspire their daughter to aspire. And for that, we remember and thank our fathers this Father’s Day.

Read more about the study at:


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