Regardless of how you feel about the inherent anti-feminist leanings of men who imply that they can only sympathize with gender issues because they have a wife, mother, or daughter, the facts remain that men who do have little girls – especially as first-borns – tend to vote for gender equality, while other men may not.
Research suggests that men with daughters are more open to inclusive solutions to social and political issues and are more willing to believe that representation matters.
The information comes from Jill Greenlee, a politics professor at Brandeis University who has dedicated her career to studying how parenthood affects social and political decision-making. In her essay, “The First-Daughter Effect,” she and her co-researcher use data from the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study to show that male opinions of gender equality issues, Title IX, the income gap, and sexual harassment laws are all correlated with different birth patterns.
Greenlee and her fellows controlled the study for factors like race, education, religiosity, and prejudice against women, and still found that men with first-born daughters responded far more favorably to gender equality issues across the board.
In layman’s terms? Having a first-born daughter affects the political identities of a large number of men.
Women, interestingly, don’t tend to change their political views after having a child, regardless of the child’s gender or birth-order.
This study doesn’t say that having a daughter makes male voters more liberal in general – they still tend to vote their own interests on issues like affirmative action, taxes, and healthcare – but they expand their interests to encompass their first-born daughter’s rights and equality.
I’m not sure if this is really good news (or good enough news), but in the fight for gender equality, I, like most feminists, am happy to take what I can get.