The New York Times reported on a startling new study that found more millennials think that men should be the breadwinners (and women should stay at home) than the previous generation.
Among 18 -to-25-year-olds, fewer people are in favor of disrupting the traditional family roles than the same subgroup 20 years previously, demonstrating that as far as we have come in our society, in some ways we may still be pedaling backwards.
In 1994, 42 percent of high school seniors agreed that the man should be the primary income earner. In 2014, that figure had risen to 58 percent. In 1994, fewer than 30 percent of seniors thought the husband should make “all the important decisions in the family.” In 2014, that figure was at nearly 40 percent.
Joanna Pepin and David Cotter, the sociologists who conducted the study, guess that advances women have achieved in the “public sphere” may be paired with a general desire to “reinforce gender essentialist ideology in the family.”
It is, of course, hugely disappointing that millennials subscribe to this way of thinking, but it is also surprising. We often assume that with each new generation, people with dated ideologies die off, giving our society the opportunity to grow more progressive and open-minded with each new year.
This isn’t to say that men shouldn’t be the breadwinners in some families; it is completely at the jurisdiction of the family to make that decision. Still, these survey results illuminate a closed-mindedness and deep-rooted resistance to change that is hugely problematic.
Of course, this study could also lend support to the theory that gender played an enormous role in Hillary Clinton’s loss for the 2016 presidency.
Here’s hoping the next generation combats these gender roles instead of embracing them.