A new study has suggested that US adults and adolescents are now significantly more accepting of mothers who work fulltime, but a growing minority from younger generations believe that wives should mind the household and husbands should make decisions for the family.
Researchers Donnelly et al wrote that students are more accepting of mothers working, but a growing minority believes that men should be the rulers of the household or more believe that women should work, but still have less power at home.
They added that this trend is particularly surprising given the legitimization of same-sex marriage over this time period, which challenges traditional gender-based views of marriage.
Looking at two nationally representative surveys of approximately 600,000 12th grade students and adults from 1976 to 2013, the researchers reported that in the 2010s, 22 percent of 12th graders believed that a preschool-age child would suffer if his or her mother worked, down from 34 percent in the late 1990s and 59 percent in the 1970s.
Among adults, 35 percent thought preschool children would suffer from a working mother, down from 42 percent in 1998 and 68 percent in 1977. In 2012, 72 percent of adults believed that working mothers could have good relationships with their children, up from 68percent in 1998 and 49percent in 1977. In the 2010s, 32percent of 12th graders agreed that it is best for men to work and women to take care of the family, up from 27percent from 1995 to 1996.
The majority of U.S. adults and high school students now accept the idea that women will work even when they have young children, commented Donnelly et al, adding that this suggests a continued, urgent need for programs to help working families.”
The study appears in the Psychology of Women Quarterly.