I read this article yesterday saying that having daughters makes parents (and particularly fathers) more progressive-minded about gender equality than having sons.
The authors’ key finding is that support for policies designed to address gender equity is greater among parents with daughters. This result emerges particularly strongly for fathers. Because parents invest a significant amount of themselves in their children, the authors argue, the anticipated and actual struggles that offspring face, and the public policies that tackle those, matter to those parents… The authors demonstrate that people who parent only daughters are more likely to hold feminist views (for example, to favor affirmative action).
My initial reaction was “well duh”, but when I told AT about it, she dropped some keen insight right away:
Me: Did you hear about this blah blah blah?
AT: Oh, so, what—none of these guys had wives or girlfriends?
Me: Wait, what?
AT: You’re telling me that, in general, men don’t really think about how they feel about society treating women worse than men until after their daughters are born?
Me: [ Feels like jerk; decides not to say the next part about how this study totally dovetails with his own personal experience. ]
I can, in fact, think of several good explanations for this phenomenon. But none of them look very good for us guys.