New research shows that men adopt significantly more conservative attitudes towards a woman’s role in the household once their first child is born. In a study of 1,800 new parents, Australian social scientist Janeen Baxter found many fathers shift to more conservative views on motherhood, the division of housework, and care-giving. While a similar change also occurred in women, they tended to become more liberal on other issues. For example, after having children, both men and women showed less support for the idea that housework and child care should be shared equally when both partners work. Women, however, showed a 4 per cent increase in how supportive they were of the idea that “a working mother can establish just as good a relationship with her children as a mother who does not work for pay.” Men became on average 0.1 percent less supportive of that idea. While her research sample was based in Australia, Baxter believes that her results would be valid for many Western societies. She thinks the reason for this shift is cultural, not biological, saying: “the way we organise work, parental leave arrangements, schools and social networks create structural barriers to involved fatherhood and also encourage the traditional social construction of women’s mothering role.”
Read the full story at The Independent.