redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
Women who are running their households are less likely to seek career advancement or power in the workplace, claims a new study presented Friday at the annual meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) in New Orleans.
According to a team of US researchers, women who are in charge of a family or running the day-to-day operations of their own home are less likely to have the energy or the desire to pursue promotions or hold on to office-related ambitions, the study claims. Those findings are based on three studies in which subjects were surveyed on both home and work-related issues, officials from the University of California, Berkeley — one of the institutions involved in the research, said in a statement.
In the first experiment, a total of 136 male and female participants between the ages of 18 and 30 were polled about their views on being in control of household decisions, and both genders agreed that it was “advantageous” to be in control at home, the university said.
“In another experiment, each of the 166 female participants was asked to imagine two scenarios: That she was married with a child and made most of the household decisions, or that she made most decisions with her husband,” they continued. “The women then rated their life goals in order of importance. Those who envisioned exercising control over domestic decisions rated the perks of workplace power, such as earning a high salary, lower than participants who imagined sharing household decision-making with their husbands.”
Finally, 644 men and women were again presented with a situation where they were married and given a choice of either being the primary power-wielder at home, splitting those duties with their significant others, or being the one responsible for completing most of the family´s domestic tasks without actually being recognized as the head of the household.
“Again, women who wielded household power expressed less interest in workplace power than women who imagined making household decisions equally with their husbands. Meanwhile, men’s interest in workplace power did not vary across the household power conditions. Thus, the dampening effect of household power on workplace goals is specific to women, researchers said,” the university explained. “Unlike the female participants who controlled the household, women presented with the ℠chores-only´ scenario did not show a dampened interest in workplace power compared to those who shared domestic power with their spouse.”
“Women don’t know that they are backing off from workplace power because of how they are thinking about their role at home. As a result, women may make decisions such as not going after a high-status promotion at work, or not seeking to work full time, without realizing why,” Melissa Williams of Emory University, who presented the study at the SPSP meeting, added in a separate statement.
The researchers believe that the study demonstrates that women face more hurdles when they have to be active working both at home and at the office, and that they are often conflicted when it comes to dealing with their identities as a wife/mother and a professional at the same time — far more than their male counterparts.
“The basic premise of this research is that cultural stereotypes of the ‘ideal mom’ conflict with stereotypes of the ‘ideal worker’ and in particular the ‘ideal professional,'” Bernadette Park of the University of Colorado Boulder said. “In contrast, for men, successfully fulfilling the role of professional in part also fulfills obligations associated with the ‘ideal dad´ “¦ For women, the identities of mom and professional are experienced in opposition or conflict with one another in a way that dad and professional are not for men.”
“One of the greatest challenges faced by women in trying to ‘have it all’ is that they experience a psychological conflict in their most basic identities not true of men,” she added. “Mentally, they have to shift back and forth between self-conceptions of self-as-mom versus self-as-professional and these two selves do not reside easily next to each other.”