Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Mothers of all boys are more likely to use force, be a leader, be complimented on their cooking and think it's important to look fashionable. But mothers of all daughters are more likely to be security conscious, enjoy grocery shopping, buy frozen ready-prepared meals, and want to be able to lose weight. 

Scientists and old wives may disagree about whether what a woman does, feels or eats when pregnant could determine the sex of her baby, but the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research suggest the reverse may be true: that the gender of their children affects mothers’ attitudes and behaviours.

As our attached chart shows, women living with three or more children all of the one sex display some remarkable and surprising differences in attitude and behaviour, both to each other and to mothers with three or more kids of any sex.

Mothers of boys are 70% more likely than mothers of girls to sometimes use force to get things done (22% vs 13%), 37% more likely to consider myself a leader rather than a follower (52% vs 38%) and almost 40% more likely to love to do as many sports as possible (25% vs 18%).

Instead, mothers of girls are much more likely to be security conscious (61% to 46%), enjoy grocery shopping (60% to 43%) or say I wasborn to shop (28% to 16%).

Mothers of girls are also more left-leaning in their beliefs. 74% believe homosexual couples should be allowed to adopt children, compared to only 54% of mothers of boys. A female Prime Minister may also be having an effect, with 35% of mothers of girls saying the Government is doing a good job running the country—13% points above mothers of boys.

There are also some unexpected findings around mothers’ body image, fashion and food. More than 1 in 4 mothers of only boys say it’s important to look fashionable compared to just over 1 in 5 mothers of 3+ kids overall, while mothers of only girls are even less sartorially inclined at fewer than 1 in 6.


88% of mothers with only girls say they would like to be able to lose weight, 13% points above the proportion of mothers of boys—but at 49% the latter are more likely to be constantly watching my weight, 9% points above the mothers of girls.

62% of all mothers with 3+ kids say people often compliment me on my cooking, however it’s 70% of mothers of only boys while only 55% of mothers of only girls are often complimented.

Perhaps because mothers with daughters are almost 60% more likely to oftenbuy frozen or chilled ready prepared meals.

While 97% of all mothers of 3+ kids say they are very proud of my family, marginally more of those with just daughters are proud than those with just sons.

Mothers with a single-sex brood do agree on some points, however: both sets are more likely than mothers of 3+ with a combination of genders in the household to like to drink wine with my meals, and less likely to think terrorists deserve the same rights as other criminals.

Fair enough.

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Although these differences in attitudes between mothers of all boys and all girls are also clearly apparent among women with only two children, it is among those with three or more that these findings are most striking.

“It is natural that having a child—let alone three or more—would change a woman’s attitudes and priorities. What surprises are the changes seeming to result from having a few kids all of the same sex: all sons and no daughters increases the likelihood of using force, playing sport or wanting to look fashionable, while the opposite makes a mother more likely to want to lose weight, enjoy shopping or be security conscious."


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia) January 2012 – December 2012, n = 1,649.

Base: Australian mothers with 3 or more children under 18 in household

Contact Profile

Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is Australia’s best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
Shaun Ellis
P: 03 9224 5332


Boys vs Girls



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