Do Sexist Mothers Change More Diapers? Ambivalent Sexism, Maternal Gatekeeping, and the Division of Childcare

Ruth Gaunt, Mariana Pinho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study examined the role of ambivalent sexist ideologies in the division of childcare responsibilities. We proposed maternal gatekeeping as a mediator through which hostile sexist attitudes toward men and women facilitate gendered division of childcare. A sample of 207 mothers with at least one child aged 6 years or younger completed extensive questionnaires. As hypothesized, the mother’s hostile sexist attitudes toward men and women were positively related to maternal gatekeeping tendencies. Gatekeeping, in turn, was related to the mother’s greater time investment in childcare and greater share of childcare tasks relative to the father. Finally, hostile sexist attitudes toward men and women had an indirect effect on the mothers’ hours of care and relative share of childcare tasks, mediated though maternal gatekeeping. The findings underscore the importance of investigating the mechanisms through which sexist ideologies are translated into daily behaviors that help maintain a gendered social structure. They may be utilized to inform parenting interventions aimed at increasing collaborative family work and fathers’ participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-189
Number of pages14
JournalSex Roles
Volume79
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Ambivalent sexism
  • Benevolent sexism
  • Childcare
  • Father involvement
  • Hostile sexism
  • Maternal gatekeeping

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