Keiran's World World by word by word

Division of labour (and chores) not so decided in Nature

Clown fish. Photo © Rob, bbmexplorer.com, via creative commons and flickr.

When male clown fish lose their female partners, they change their sex and become female themselves. Go, Nemo/Nema.

When it comes to gender equality, researchers find Dad’s actions around the house speak louder than his words. University of British Columbia psychologists recently found that, when a father regularly engages in traditionally female household chores, his school-aged daughters are more likely to aspire to gender-neutral careers—for instance, becoming doctors, lawyers or CEOs.

Which means, guys, if you want your daughters to become highly paid white- or even blue-collared professionals, be sure you change diapers, scrub floors, pick up groceries, drycleaning and dirty socks, and make dinner—often and regularly. For, despite Peter Mackay’s reported emails to his staff, in doing so, you will indeed shape your daughters’ minds and values.

Gender-based divisions of household labour are social constructs. Yet, despite the last 40 years’ advances, women remain the primary caregivers, cooks and cleaners in many households. Some people—including some individuals in influential places—claim the roles naturally come with being the only humans biologically capable of gestating and birthing young.

But imagine if we could switch biological roles, as it were, without complicated surgeries and hormones. Imagine if we could easily adjust the division of reproductive labour. That would be the end of many questionable comments and assumptions.

Some organisms do exactly that….

Read the rest of this editorial at the Victoria Times Colonist….

 

More to explore:

Battle of the sexes – one gene keeps us either male or female

Dads who do housework have more ambitious daughters

Moms change diapers, Dads form leaders: Justice minister’s emails to staff

Sex change in nature—coral reef fish

Slug love

 

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