This article is from the In-Depth Report The Science of Fatherhood
60-Second Science

Like Father, Like Daughter

New research shows that more and more daughters are following in their father's footsteps. Cynthia Graber reports

[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]

Over the past 50 years more and more women have entered the work force. And they’re increasingly taking on jobs that have traditionally gone to men.

Now new research shows that the women’s fathers may be having an influence on what those jobs are.

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Maryland examined three large surveys conducted from 1973 to 2002.  More than forty thousand women had taken part. They included women born from1909 to 1977—three generations over three quarters of a century.

This broad examination of women’s roles clearly showed a rise in what had been male-dominated fields. But the surveys also contained information on what jobs the fathers held. And it turned out as time progressed, there was a distinct change. Women born in the 1970s were three times more likely to follow in their dads’ footsteps.

Researchers can’t say exactly what this means about father-daughter relationships. Maybe dads are investing more time in educating their daughters. Maybe they’re talking more about their own jobs.  But dads and daughters appear to be taking career paths that bridge both the generation and gender gaps.

—Cynthia Graber

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