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LeanIn.Org|SurveyMonkey poll: parents and gender bias

LeanIn.Org|SurveyMonkey poll: parents and gender bias

A poll from LeanIn.Org and SurveyMonkey, conducted November 8-27, 2023, examines how parents and their children communicate about gender bias. Here's what we found:

Mothers are more likely than fathers to talk to their children about feelings and goals

  • Nearly three-quarters of parents of children ages 9-17 report talking with their child about feelings and emotions (71%) and encouraging them to go after their goals (70%).
  • More mothers than fathers are also talking with their child about what they want to be when they grow up (70% vs. 66%), encouraging them to try new things (71% vs. 58%), and complimenting their appearance (71% vs. 48%).
  • After watching movies or shows with their child, parents report talking with them about what they liked or disliked about it (61%), how they felt about it (45%), how realistic or accurate it was (35%), and whether it portrayed stereotypes (12%).

Parents talk about science and play sports more with boys than girls

  • More than half of parents of children ages 9-17 (54%) have recently talked about science, math, or engineering with their child, but only 4 in ten (40%) have recently played a sport or done vigorous physical activity with their child.
  • Parents are talking about STEM more with boys (56%) than girls (51%), and the same is true for playing sports (45% for boys vs. 35% for girls).

Most parents are concerned about their children facing unfair treatment

  • More than half of parents of children ages 9-17 (57%) think that their child has received or will receive unfair treatment due to their race/ethnicity (25%), social/economic status (22%), gender (14%), religion (12%), sexual orientation (8%), or some other characteristic (12%).
  • Parents are more concerned about girls facing unfair treatment due to gender than boys (17% vs. 9%).
  • Parents of Black and Asian children are more concerned about their child receiving unfair treatment due to their race/ethnicity (49% and 41%, respectively) than parents of Hispanic (27%) or white (14%) children.
  • Two in ten (19%) parents think it is somewhat or very likely that their child’s gender will limit their future career path; higher for girls than boys (24% vs. 14%) but equal between mothers and fathers.
  • Another two in ten (22%) think that it is somewhat or very likely that their child’s race or ethnicity will limit their future career path; higher for Black children (37%), Asian children (30%), and Hispanic children (24%) than for white children (15%).

A majority of parents have talked to their child about gender bias or discrimination

  • About two-thirds of parents of children ages 9-17 (69%) have talked to their child about gender bias or discrimination in the past week (26%), month (26%), or year (17%), and 7% have talked about it more than a year ago; nearly one in four (23%) have never discussed such topics with their child. Mothers are more likely to have ever had this conversation than fathers (81% vs. 70%).
  • Among those who have not talked to their child, most say it’s because it doesn’t affect them (23%) or that they’re not old enough (21%); others are not sure what to say (15%) or don’t want to make their child uncomfortable (11%), while some say it’s not an important topic (13%) or that gender bias doesn’t exist (10%).
  • In conversations about gender bias, more parents of girls than of boys have told them that they can do or be anything no matter their gender (52% vs. 43%), talked about how it impacts them and their experiences (42% vs. 30%), and talked about how it shows up in media (40% vs. 30%).

Read more about our polling methodology here

Click through all the results in the interactive toplines below: