Does having a daughter change a man’s leadership style? Several recent research articles suggest that it does. Male judges with daughters are more likely to rule in favor of women’s rights. And companies led by men with daughters make more progress in closing the wage gap between men and women.
This is a beautiful example of how a leader’s personal life affects his or her leadership choices. Although we like to pretend that we are “all business,” in fact we bring our whole selves to work, like it or not. Having a daughter often changes a man in profound ways. Many fathers are fiercely protective of their daughters and deeply invested in their happiness and success. Through that personal connection, male leaders often become much more aware of the inequalities women face in the workplace. Gender discrimination is no longer an abstract concept – it is a threat to their daughters’ well-being.
This has implications for how women can successfully craft mentorship relationships with male leaders. Many successful mentorship relationships resemble father-daughter relationships. The male executive becomes emotionally invested in his female mentee’s success and helps her to develop her leadership skills and break through barriers.
For more of my thoughts on this topic, check out “Why Men with Daughters may be the Key to Closing the Gender Wage Gap” in Fast Company.