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Does having a daughter change the way men think about women?

by AirTalk®

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New study suggest that judges with daughters tend to have different rulings than those who do not have female children. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

A study co-authored by professors from Harvard and the University of Rochester shows that judges with daughters are more likely to side in favor of women’s rights than those with sons.

The “daughter effect” was most pronounced in the comparison of male judges appointed by Republican presidents, and echoes anecdotal evidence from the court and beyond. Standard debate about how judges decide cases focuses on law and ideology, but Professor Maya Sen, who co-wrote the study, says that personal experience matters too.

Other studies have come up with similar results in different fields -- one found that members of Congress with daughters are more likely to cast liberal votes, another found that British parents with daughters were more likely to vote for liberal parties. Intuition has long said the same thing -- that life experiences influence decision making.

Could having a daughter change the way an employer views colleagues, influence hiring practices, or change someone’s political perspective? Have you encountered a man whose daughter changed the way he treated women, or have you had your own point of view shifted?


Beth Livingston, Assistant Professor, Human Resource Studies at the International and Labor Relations School, Cornell University

Jeremy Adam Smith,  producer and editor at the Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkeley, author of The Daddy Shift, a collection of essays about stay at home fathers and their family dynamics 

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