Men really do get less sexist when they have daughters

For many men, having a daughter is a wake-up call to a notion most of us are already on board with: Women are human beings, just as capable as men.

The web is awash in blog posts from fathers earnestly explaining how having a little girl changed their feelings about women ― they’re not just pretty-smelling objects to be ogled, dads say. They face challenges because of sexism, fathers learn as they watch their daughters grow up and confront the world.

But the daughter effect isn’t merely anecdotal, and it doesn’t simply change men’s attitudes. It can also have profound economic consequences. A new study from researchers at Harvard offers perhaps the most compelling evidence yet: Venture capitalists who have daughters are more likely to hire women to work at their firms and those more diverse firms see improved financial returns.

In other words, the less sexist dads wound up making better business decisions.

“Subtle debiasing can have real effects,” said Paul Gompers, a professor at Harvard Business School who conducted the research with Sophie Wang an economics PhD student at Harvard. They published their findings in a working paper on the National Bureau of Economic Research website.