Study co-author Serena Chen, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, said household decision-making power was highly valued by both men and women who participated in the study but women said running a home made them less likely to pursue promotions and other career advancement steps at the office. Men's work goals were unchanged by their domestic role, Chen said.
Chen and colleagues said despite the feminist movement and other gender equity efforts, women largely retain authority over child-rearing and household chores and finances, with men deferring to their expertise in these matters.
"As a result, women may make decisions such as not going after a high-status promotion at work, or not seeking to work full time, without realizing why," lead author Melissa Williams, an assistant professor of business at Emory University, said in a statement.
The researchers asked 166 female participants to imagine two scenarios -- one in which they are married with a child and made most of the household decisions, and one in which decision-making is shared. The women then rated their life goals in order of importance.
Those who envisioned exercising control over domestic decisions rated the perks of workplace power, such as earning a high salary, lower than participants who imagined sharing household decision-making with their husbands.
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in New Orleans.