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The Boston Globe


Uncommon Knowledge

Sisters make boys conservative

And more surprsing insights from the social sciences

Sisters make boys conservative

When you meet a guy with five sisters, you might assume he has more open-minded views about women—and, hey, maybe politics in general—as a result. But think again. An analysis of surveys that followed individuals from childhood into adulthood found that “having sisters rather than brothers makes young men—but not young women—more likely to express conservative positions on gender roles and to identify as Republicans.” The survey data also hint at an explanation: “Boys with sisters are substantially less likely to have performed femalestereotyped household tasks during childhood than boys with brothers. For girls, sibling gender has no effect on chore assignment...[M]en who grew up with sisters continue to perform fewer household chores even in middle age.”

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