How to make millenials care about gender equality: Harry Brighouse, philosophy professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, created a quiz to help his millenial students understand why studying “gender justice” is still relevant to their generation. Let’s take Brighouse’s quiz to quickly determine whether gender equity in parenting is an issue we still must care about, or suimply a relic of our messed-up grandparents’ marriages. Follow along!
1. Are you male or female? (If you’re not sure, just pick one, if you reject the question, sit out the exercise).
2. During your teen years did you get paid to do babysitting more than 10 times?
3. Do you anticipate having children? If not, sit this out.
Here are three kinds of parenting arrangements:
a) Father led parenting: the father spends substantially more time than the mother looking after the children and thinking about their wellbeing over the course of their childhoods
b) Mother led parenting: the mother spends substantially more time than the father looking after the children and thinking about their wellbeing over the course of their childhoods
C) Egalitarian parenting: the mother and father spend roughly the same amount of time looking after the children and thinking about their wellbeing.
4. Think just about yourself for the moment. Which of A, B, and C best characterizes your expectations for your prospective family life?
5. Now think about your FIVE best friends. Which of A, B, and C best characterizes your expectations for most of their family lives? (eg, you expect 3 or more of them to be Father-led, answer a).
I’m proud to say that Brighouse’s quiz essentially does not apply to me. I didn’t babysit more than ten times as a teenager; my brother, who now works as a teacher in Watts, dealt with the little brats in high school. My parents—-also Wisconsin-Madison alums—-shared parenting duties throughout my childhood; often, one of them was living in a different state, working or earning a degree, while the other lived with my brother and myself. Also, I don’t really anticipate having children (famous last words). Eat it, Brighouse!
A survey of Brighouse’s students, however, found that expectations of mother-led parenting persist among my generation. Brighouse found the following data fairly consistent:
– About 5 percent of males answered “yes” to the babysitting question; 65 percent of the females did.
– No males expected their children to be raised in father-led homes; 85 percent expected them to be raised in mother-led homes; 15 percent expected an egalitarian arrangement.
– Meanwhile, 10 percent of females expected their children to be raised in father-led homes; 25 percent expected them to be raised in mother-led homes; 65 percent expected an egalitarian arrangement.
– Males reported mother-led home lives among their best friends 85 percent of the time and egalitarian arrangements 15 percent of the time.
– Females reported mother-led home lives among their best friends 75 percent of the time and egalitarian arrangements 25 percent of the time.
Photo by adonis hunter’s ‘stuff’