TIME Law

Judges With Daughters More Likely to Rule in Favor of Women’s Rights

The "daughters effect" is actually real

Judges with daughters are more likely to make feminist-leaning decisions than judges who only have boys, according to new research out of Harvard.

The researchers found that judges who have one daughter are 7-9% more likely to decide in favor of women’s rights than judges with no girls. And that likelihood doesn’t increase with any additional daughters– one girl is enough to sway a judge. The researchers also found evidence that the so-called “daughter effect” matters most on judges who would ordinarily be more conservative.

Only daughters are especially persuasive. Among judges who only have one child, those who have a daughter are 16% more likely to vote in a feminist direction.

Here’s one other interesting side note — apparently liberals are more likely to keep having children until they have a girl, while conservatives are often content with just boys. This could suggest that a judge that has a daughter might be more liberal leaning in the first place.

This study is one of the first to suggest that personal relationships may influence judicial decisions as much as the judge’s own political affiliation, race, or gender. And the researchers haven’t identified a specific reason for the “daughter effect,” but it seems pretty clear; judges who have daughters probably want to make the world a better place for women. Mazel Tov.

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