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The More Things Change . . .

Women still expected to follow traditional role at home, researcher says

TUESDAY, Oct. 29, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- While women are overcoming gender bias in the workplace, they aren't making as much progress on the home front, says Gettysburg College psychology professor Janet Riggs.

Research shows that women are still expected to do more for their children than their husbands will, she says. Society has differing expectations of men and women because of the roles we typically see them in, Riggs says.

Women are seen as much more nurturing and men as more independent because those are the roles they typically take on. Those perceptions change when women and men step out of those roles. But women are more likely than men to approve of such changes.

In one of her studies, Riggs asked participants to rate parents who work and don't work. The men in the study expressed more approval for women who stay home and less approval for stay-at-home fathers. That indicates that women are more accepting of women and men taking on non-traditional roles, Riggs says.

Another study by Riggs found that many people feel the father in a family should be the breadwinner and that even if both parents work, the mother should be the primary caregiver.

In another study of male and female college students, Riggs found that while the college students are more approving than ever of working mothers, they still have traditional expectations of the roles men and women will assume in a family.

None of the female college students in the study said they expected their spouse to give up his job to take care of children at home. And most of the males said they assumed their wife would take care of their children.

More information

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has more about gender equality.

SOURCE: Gettysburg College, news release, Oct. 22, 2002
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