Boys who grow up with sisters more likely to end up Republican, and sexist

Boys who grow up with sisters are more likely to end up Republican, according to a paper published in the Journal of Politics (Word document), and reported on by PEW.

The paper, by Andrew Healy and Neil Malhotr, also says that boys with sisters end up doing less “female-stereotyped” housework as children and adults.

And that the boys end up having more “conservative attitudes with respect to gender roles.”

Girl with hay, via Shutterstock

Girl with hay, via Shutterstock

For example, the study found that, “compared to men with all brothers, men with all sisters were 3.9 percentage points more likely to agree with the statement that ‘a woman’s place is in the home’.”

The paper did not find a similar impact on girls who grew up with brothers, however.  From the paper:

[B]oys with sisters are substantially less likely to have performed female-stereotyped household tasks during childhood than boys with brothers. For girls, sibling gender has no effect on chore assignment. We also utilize the PSP data to show that men who grew up with sisters continue to perform fewer household chores even in middle age, suggesting the persistent effect of childhood experiences.

The big difference in chores between boys and girl?  Doing the dishes.  Boys were less likely to be asked to do the dishes if they had sisters.

Kidds baking via Shutterstock

Kidds baking via Shutterstock

It’s funny, because I grew up with sisters, but I still enjoyed cooking from an early age.  Then again, who got to mow the lawn when we were kids?  My brother and me.  I’m pretty sure the girls never had to.  And that was definitely gender stereotyped.

My sisters also never had to stain the fence (that was a joy from which I’ll never recover).  But boy did I get to do the dishes.

Now, it should be noted that the study examined data from 1965 to 1997.  So it would be interesting to see if attitudes have changed significantly in the past 16 years to the point where parents are more even-handed in the chores they dole out to the kids.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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