Monday, May 16, 2011

Dual-earner fathers report more work-life conflict than dual-earner mothers

It doesn't happen that often anymore, but sometimes I am really, really surprised at what some studies found. Case in question "The National Study of the Changing Workforce - 2008" (NSCW). The whole thing is worth reading a sort of TL;DR can be seen here.

Some factoids:
- 71% of mothers with children under 18 are working (kind of surprised me that there are that many)
- 79% of married employees are part of a dual-earner couple [...] women contributed 44% of the annual dual-earner family income
- "it’s better for all involved if the man earns the money and the woman takes care of the home and children” is something that 42% of men and 39% of women believe in
- 73% of respondents either strongly or somewhat agreed that “a mother who works outside the home can have just as good a relationship with her children as a mother who does not work,” (67% of men, 80% of women)
- “Men’s reported level of work-life conflict has risen significantly from 34% in 1977 to 45% in 2008, while women’s work-life conflict has increased less dramatically and not significantly: from 34% in 1977 to 39% in 2008.” And the level of conflict is even higher for dual-earner fathers, with 59% experiencing some or a lot of conflict in 2008, versus 45% of dual-earner mothers.
- Employed fathers are spending significantly more time with their children under 13 than they did in 1977.  Men are also:
•    Taking more responsibility for the care of the children (49% say they take more or equal share of care)
•    Doing more or an equal share of the cooking (56% of men)
•    Doing more or an equal share of the house cleaning (53% of men).

The last point has to be taken with a grain of salt as mothers report different values (67% / 70% / 73%). Why there is such a discrepancy? The report says the following:
Our previous studies have revealed that the gender that has traditionally been assumed by society to have primary responsibility for particular aspects of family work tends to see itself as doing more in those areas. 
The overall conclusion we draw from the trends reported in this section is quite profound. Whatever the precise objective degree of responsibility men are assuming for various aspects of family work, it has clearly become more socially acceptable for men to be and to say they are involved in child care, cooking and cleaning over the past three decades than it was in the past!
Certainly, some interesting statistics.

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