Some of the best men I know are men with sisters. For some reason, growing up with at least one female takes the edge off some men: their eyes don't bulge out of their heads when you ask them to put the toilet seat down or faint at the sight of a tampon when it accidently falls out of your purse.
An article in The Atlantic talks about the way that close relationships with women can dramatically alter the attitudes and actions of men, at their job or at home, in varying ways. Whether these women are co-workers, sisters, daughters or wives, they will have an influence on their men. Here's how:
1. Male CEOs with daughters narrow the gender wage gap.
When male CEOs have daughters, relative pay for women at their firm goes up. In one study, researchers studied the very detailed data kept on employees in Denmark's private sector, focusing on the salaries of 734,200 workers at 6,320 firms from 1995 through 2006.
The data included information on CEOs, and the sexes and birth dates of their children. Overall in Denmark, there's a gender wage gap of 21.5 percent (not adjusted for position or hours worked), but when a daughter was born to a male CEO the gender gap closed in his company by 0.5 percentage points.
When the researchers broke the data down even further, they found that if the daughter was the first daughter or first child, the gap was closed even further.
2. Having a daughter makes men reduce support for traditional gender roles.
A study in the Social Forces Journal found that men with a daughter aren't as likely to support traditional gender roles. Fathers of daughters are less likely to believe that a woman's place is in the home and are more likely to agree that men should help out around the house.
3. Men who grew up with sisters are less likely to help with housekeeping chores.
Instead, they're more likely to be more politically conservative, according to a paper published in the Journal of Politics.
4. Men with stay-at-home wives tend to be more sexist.
In a study published in the Social Science Research Network, researchers found, after doing a series of studies, that husbands in traditional marriages (relative to men in modern marriages) exhibited attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that undermine the role of women in the workplace, including denying promotions to qualified women. Yikes.
5. Men who work in a more female-dominated career have a tendency to do more housework.
6. Men with breadwinner wives do less housework.
Unfortunately, men whose wives earn more than they do aren't too keen on doing housework, says a National Bureau of Economic Research study.
Women, be aware of how you can change the men in your life and work at making those changes positive. It will improve things both at home and at work for everyone.