Maybe young people won't save the world after all.
A new study by sociologists Joanna Pepin and David Cotter took a look at the results of Monitoring the Future, a survey that has been given to high-school seniors on a yearly basis over the last 40 years.
The results they found were pretty dismaying: Young millennials don't seem to have progressive views when it comes to women and housework.
For example, the sociologists found that the percentage of young people who believed in an egalitarian division of work rose steadily from 1977 to the mid-1990s. But since then, that percentage has been decreasing.
Back in 1994, only 42% of the high school seniors who were surveyed said the best type of family arrangement was when the man was the primary breadwinner and the woman was in charge of the house. But 20 years later, the percentage of seniors who held this belief increased. In 2014, an astounding 58% of the teens surveyed said they preferred the kind of household in which the husband is the main income earner while the wife attends to the chores.
Pepin and Cotter saw a similar trend when it comes to the question of who should be "head of the house." In 1994, a little under 30% of high school seniors who answered the survey thought "the husband should make all the important decisions in the family." In 2014, almost 40% of students subscribed to that premise.
Those stats are a bummer, but the results of the study shouldn't come as a total surprise.
A different survey found that in 1994, 83% of men between the ages of 18 and 25 disagreed with the notion that a "male breadwinner, female homemaker" arrangement was in fact the superior household. However, by 2014 that number fell to 55%.
This issue seems to have its roots in how men have been losing earning power over the past few years.
Dan Cassino, a political scientist, conducted a study during the 2016 election in which the questions were designed to remind men that many women now earn more than them. As a result of this reminder, many of the men surveyed were less likely to say they supported Hillary Clinton for president.
It's not only about money. According to a 2015 study commissioned by MTV, 27% of men between the ages of 14 and 24 thought that the advancement of women's rights had come at the expense of their male counterparts.
The issue extends outside of the house: Millennial men are more likely to think that all the necessary conditions to create equality in the workplace are already in place, even more so than men of previous generations.
It's incredibly disappointing that as women keep breaking glass ceilings and making strides toward being truly equal, this younger generation of men is so caught up in reverting to old ways of thinking.
The saddest part of this is that dual-earner couples who also have an equal division of housework report more financial advantages — and higher levels of marital and sexual satisfaction — than couples in which the wife is in charge of most of the housework and child care.
There's a reason society has moved steadily toward making men and women equal — in every single area. We're definitely not there yet, so it's up to the younger generations to keep that pace and avoid reversing all the progress we have made.