Husbands With Stay-At-Home Wives More Sexist At Work, Suggests Harvard Research

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A piece of research that looks at how employed husbands in marriages with stay-at-home wives treat their co-workers has produced startling results.

According to researchers from Harvard, NYU and the University of Utah, men in Fifties-style domestic arrangements are more likely to exhibit attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours that are harmful to women in the workplace - in comparison to married males in modern marriages.

Sreedhari D. Desai, research fellow on the Women & Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, explains that male breadwinners who take care of the home and family become accustomed to the notion that women are meant to fulfill a facilitative or domestic role.

fifties

She tells Huffpost Lifestyle: “People are daily ‘border crossers’ between the domains of work and family. Attitudes and emotions generated at home spill over into the realm of work.

“Men in traditional marriages come to the workplace thinking women are meant to be second-in-line and occupy facilitative roles such as secretarial - as opposed to - managerial positions.”

Her comments add fuel to the fire lit by Cheri Blair this week - who has accused the next generation of British women of betraying their feminist struggles by wanting to marry rich and retire instead of setting a better example to their kids by having their own careers.

According to The Guardian, during a speech at Fortune magazine's Most Powerful Women event at the five-star Claridge's hotel in London, the barrister and wife of the former prime minister said a growing band of so-called "yummy mummies" were happy to put their children first before a satisfying and rewarding career.

cheri blair

"One of the things that worries me now is you see young women who say: 'I look at the sacrifices that women have made and I think why do I need to bother, why can't I just marry a rich husband and retire?' and you think, how can they even imagine that is the way to fulfil yourself, how dangerous it is," she said.

Harvard's research paper (Marriage Structure and Resistance to the Gender Revolution in the Workplace) found that employed husbands in traditional marriages tended to:

:: View the presence of women in the workplace unfavourably
:: Perceive that organisations with higher numbers of female employees are operating less smoothly
:: Find organisations with female leaders relatively unattractive
:: More frequently deny qualified female employees opportunities for promotion.

According to Desai, men with unfavourable attitudes believe women should not work and wives should help their husband’s career first instead of focusing on their own careers.

“We found that men in traditional marriages tend to think that workplaces with more women employees operate less smoothly.

"We also found that men in traditional marriages are less attracted to organizations that have high gender diversity and such men are less likely to send a female subordinate to a company sponsored MBA program that might help her move up the corporate ladder.”

The findings could open up new research territory by questioning how marriage structure conditions the treatment of others at work.

“Men embedded in traditional and neo-traditional marriages represent a pocket of resistance to the gender revolution and, thus, one plausible explanation for its slowdown,” concludes the paper.