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First-time dads are ‘traditional’

New fathers  have tendencies to adopt more traditional views on gender roles, according to a new study


Research shows they become more conservative in their attitudes towards women’s roles in the home following the birth of their first child.

A study involving 1,800 new parents has found dads embrace more stereotypical views on motherhood, as well as the division of housework and care-giving.

The research conducted by Australian social scientist Janeen Baxter revealed that both men and women had less support after having children.

Many couples also had the view that the care of children should be shared equally if both parents were working.

Professor Baxter said new fathers are “more likely to agree that a working mother is less able than a stay-at-home mother to establish a bond with her child.

 “It leaves reluctant mothers with less opportunity to rethink intensive roles that may not fit them, their partners or their children.

“More traditional attitudes on gender may also make it more difficult for enthusiastic fathers to be as involved with their children to a degree that might be better for everyone.”

After giving birth, women showed a 4 per cent increase in how favourably they viewed the idea that “a working mother can establish just as good a relationship with her children as a mother who does not work for pay”.

Men, on the other hand, were on average 0.1 per cent less supportive of the idea.

Although the study only surveyed Australian parents, Baxter said: “Data from other countries suggests that many Western societies – the US, UK, New Zealand and Canada – would see similar results.”

Professor Baxter believes that the shift in attitudes is consistent with other research showing that transitions, such as leaving home or getting married, often mark important turning points in how people organise their lives and potentially, their attitudes.

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