There are also cultural influences that affect female identity. An extreme is the devaluation of female infants in some societies. Female infanticide has been a long-standing practice in China, says Hrdy. The rate is higher today than in previous years, although not as high as earlier centuries.
If you don't believe that moms and dads look at their male and female children differently, get a load of this:
- A 1993 Gallup poll of more than 1,000 adults reported in USA Today found that among those who responded to each question, 43 percent think it is easier to raise a boy; 27 percent a girl; and 23 percent felt no difference.
- A study reported in Family Circle in 2000 conducted by allowancenet.com uncovered a gender gap in how kids are paid for work within the family. Of the top 10 chores, cleaning, making bed, doing homework, picking up clothes, cleaning bathroom, doing dishes, doing laundry, loading or emptying dishwasher, brushing and flossing teeth, and vacuuming, boys got anywhere from 10¢ to $8.00 more per job. They averaged $1.50 more per chore than girls.
- A nationwide study reported in USA Today magazine in 1994 revealed that girls living in the same home as their biological father had less intellectual opportunities than their brothers, were more likely to receive discipline, and were given more responsibility for chores.
- According to Ohio State University researcher, Frank Moot, when fathers aren't in the home intellectual opportunities improve for girls. Mothers on the other hand do not diminish the atmosphere for their sons at that time, but they do generally try to improve the environment for their daughters.