Dads do 58% more child care while on lockdown: survey

Daddy daycare is booming.

A new survey of families in the UK has found that fathers are pitching in 58% more with child care than they did prior to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report by the Office for National Statistics.

In 2015, a similar study found that men were taking on only 39% of the amount of child care women handled — now, their parenting productivity compared to moms is up to 66%.

The current survey, which polled 1,300 households between March 28 and April 26, also discovered that men’s weekly hours of work outside the household fell by an average of 11%. UK-based parenting think-tank the Fatherhood Institute has calculated that for men to maintain pandemic levels of child care once the self-isolation period ends, they will need an extra eight hours of free time from other duties, namely their professions.

Meanwhile in the US, a poll by Morning Consult for the New York Times reveals that moms and dads may not be appreciating each others’ efforts when it comes to housework, child care and home schooling during the pandemic. The survey of 2,200 adults in mid-April — up to 6 weeks after lockdown began in several US states — shows that women feel they are disproportionately leading child-care efforts: 66% of women say they are doing more than their spouse, whereas 24% of men say the same. The rate of men and women who say they are putting in equal effort varies by a wide margin: 52% of men vs. 25% of women.

The study goes further by also taking housework, such as cooking and cleaning, and home schooling into account. Women again feel they are leading educational efforts on the home front, as 80% say they are doing more than their spouse. Yet, many men may not be getting enough credit, with 45% responding that they are the ones taking charge of teaching their kids. Still, 39% admit their wives are indeed taking on more of the academic workload. For women, only 3% contend that their husbands are leading home-schooling efforts.

In terms of housework, 70% of women feel they are bearing the brunt in that category, whereas just 21% of men would claim as much. Again, the survey reveals a large disparity between men and women who feel their spouse is putting in equivalent time and effort: 58% of men vs. 27% of women.

Barbara Risman, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago who helped analyze the Morning Consult data, tells the Times, “Being forced to be at home is amplifying the differences we already know exist.

“What terrifies me for the future is if it will push women out of the labor force in a way that will be very hard to overcome,” she says.


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