Saturday, April 29, 2023

Fathers’ Leave

 A new study report Fathers’ Leave Reduces Sexist Attitudes. No surprise there. 

Research shows that sexist attitudes are deeply ingrained, with adverse consequences in the socioeconomic and political sphere. We argue that parental leave for fathers—a policy reform that disrupts traditional gender roles and promotes less stereotypical ones—has the power to decrease attitudinal gender bias. Contrasting the attitudes of new parents who were (and were not) directly affected by a real-world policy reform that tripled the amount of fathers’ leave, we provide causal evidence that the reform increased gender-egalitarian views in the socioeconomic and political domains among mothers and fathers, and raised support for pro-female policies that potentially displace men among mothers. In contrast, informational, indirect exposure to the reform among the general public produced no attitudinal change. These results show that direct exposure to progressive social policy can weaken sexist attitudes, providing governments with a practical and effective tool to reduce harmful biases.

Of course if people are treated equally they develop more equal attitudes. It isn't just fathers' leave that reduces sexist attitudes. Likewise, more equal representation of women in work, management, politics, etc. all reduce sexist attitudes. If over your career, half your bosses were women, you will be less sexist.  The exact same logic applies to race and gender identity. 

But we need to remember it works both ways. Unless half the military and half of dangerous jobs are held by women, sexist attitudes, by men and women, will persist. We need to fix the whole problem. 

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