A recent article highlighting some studies about gender roles in breadwinning and homemaking found that the once rising support for both moms and dads working outside the home has not only stalled, it has fallen.
Data from a survey that has been given to samplings of high school seniors for the last 40 years show that the proportion of graduating teens who think men and women are equal had been going up since 1977. Nearly two decades later, sociologists Joanna Pepin and David Cotter reported that surveys of the seniors graduating in 1994 had the fewest number of respondents who said that the "best family was one where the man was the main income earner and the woman took care of the home." Now, the New York Times reports that in 2014, that number passed the majority mark with 58 percent of the respondents saying moms should stay home with the kids while dad goes out hunting, er, pursuing his career.
Is this growing sexism, or is it the fact that, say, childcare costs are budget killers and so someone's gotta do that for free?
Because back in '94, fewer than 30 percent of the respondents said that “the husband should make all the important decisions in the family," whereas just three years ago, almost 40 percent were totally in favor of that. Ew.
It's a fluke, right? Nope. Another different survey detected a similar trend, one that focused on the male respondents exclusively. The mid-'90s high school senior guys—83 percent of them!—rejected "the superiority of the male-breadwinner family." Buuuuut, in 2014, only 55 percent of them did.
Women, too, started liking the man-as-sole-provider idea more recently, though not quite as much. Back in the earlier year, 85 percent of them rejected the idea. In 2014, 72 percent of them did. Though the idea that working women are just as good at being moms as those who stay at home is still going up, albeit it slowly, among females, their male counterparts aren't so sure anymore.
The upshot: As recently as 2014, guys between 18 and 25 had mindsets that were far more traditional than their elders'.
The Times piece speculates this all may have something to do with the more recent males seeing their fathers suffer financial setbacks. So, instead of thinking that, perhaps, couples who both bring in income can be stronger together, they looked at it as zero sum, as evidenced by a 2015 poll commissioned by MTV. That survey found that 27 percent of males 14 to 24 years old reported thinking that "women’s gains had come at the expense of men."
Is this the pendulum swinging or the new way things are going to be?