Washington, Jan 20: Housewives are less inclined to pursue a career or promotional prospects outside of family concerns, says a new research.
Running the home made them less likely to pursue promotions and other career advancement steps at the office, unlike men, whose goals were unchanged by their domestic role, said a new University of California Berkeley study.
“It appears that being in charge of household decisions may bring a semblance of power to women’s traditional role, to the point where women may have less desire to push against the obstacles to achieving additional power outside the home,” said Berkeley psychologist Serena Chen.
Despite the feminist movement and other gender equity efforts, women largely retain authority over child-rearing and household chores and finances, with men deferring to their expertise in these matters, researchers point out.
This paradigm has had an impact on women’s career choices, the study implies, according to a California statement.
“As a result, women may make decisions such as not going after a high-status promotion at work, or not seeking to work full time, without realizing why,” said Melissa Williams, an assistant professor of business at Emory University and lead author of the study.
In the first experiment, 136 participants ranging in age from 18 to 30 were surveyed on whether being in control of household decisions is desirable and empowering.
In another, each of the 166 female participants was asked to imagine two scenarios.
That she was married with a child and made most of the household decisions, or that she made most decisions with her husband. The women then rated their life goals in order of importance.
In the final experiment, 644 male and female participants were again presented with the scenario of being married with a child and the choice of wielding household power or sharing it with their spouses.
But this time, there was another option: The participants had to imagine doing most domestic chores without the distinction of having control of the household.
Again, women who wielded household power expressed less interest in workplace power than women who imagined making household decisions equally with their husbands.
Chen presented the findings at the annual meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology in New Orleans, US.