Moms More Likely To Pass Sexist Attitudes On To Kids
October 1, 2011

Moms More Likely To Pass Sexist Attitudes On To Kids

Children are more likely to learn sexist behavior from their mother, researchers at the University of the Basque Country in Spain have discovered.

In the study, the findings of which were published earlier this month in the journal Psicothema, Dr. Maite Garaigordobil and Jones Aliri analyzed 1,455 children between the ages of 11 and 17, as well as their parents (764 mothers and 648 fathers).

Individually, they looked at mother-daughter, mother-son, father-daughter and father-son relationships and the affect that each has on forming discriminatory behavior. The result, they discovered, is that the mother is more likely to influence sexist attitudes in her children, even if she had been negatively affected by such attitudes herself.

"The degree of sexism in the mother is more linked to that of her sons or daughters in comparison to the influence of the father," Garaigordobil said in a statement.

"If we bear in mind that women are the main victims of sexism, it is paradoxical that they are the ones who have a greater influence when it comes to the transference of such damaging attitudes," she added. "We are unable to confirm that this relationship is of a cause-effect nature given that our study is not correlational and does not use experimental methodology."

According to a Friday article published by the Telegraph, the Spanish university study emphasizes that helping parents address gender prejudice issues would lower the level of sexism in their offspring, and recommends implementing educational programs during infancy and adolescence in order to encourage gender equality, fight sexism, and help prevent gender-based bullying.

The study also linked sexist attitudes to gender, discovering that males -- both sons and fathers -- tend to be "significantly" more sexist than females, and discovered that "women and men with high sexism scores tend to choose sexist partners, and vice versa," according to Garaigordobil.

It also reportedly established a link between a family's social-economic status and/or cultural position and the persistence of sexist attitudes, with the researchers discovering that the higher the socio-economic and cultural level of a family, the less likely both parents and children will hold discriminatory attitudes, according to a September 30 press release.


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