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Journal Article
The ‘mighty girl’ effect: does parenting daughters alter attitudes towards gender norms?

January 2019
Paper No' :

Tags: parenting; gender

We study the effect of parenting daughters on attitudes towards gender norms in the UK; specifically, attitudes towards the traditional male breadwinner norm in which it is the husband's role to work and the wife's to stay at home. We find robust evidence that rearing daughters decreases fathers' likelihood to hold traditional attitudes. This result is driven by fathers of school-aged daughters, for whom the effects are robust to the inclusion of individual fixed effects. Our estimates suggest that fathers' probability to support traditional gender norms declines by approximately 3% age points (8%) when parenting primary school-aged daughters and by 4% age points (11%) when parenting secondary school-aged daughters. The effect on mothers' attitudes is generally not statistically significant. These findings are consistent with exposure and identity theories. We conclude that gender norm attitudes are not stable throughout the life-course and can significantly be shaped by adulthood experiences.