Despite being on lockdown, domestic responsibilities are still not being split evenly amongst men and women. According to a recent survey by the Morning Consult for The New York Times, 70 percent of women reported being “fully or mostly responsible” for household chores, and 66 percent said the same for childcare. These numbers are nearly identical to those reported under normal circumstances.
Ironically, which also seems typical for normal circumstances, the survey suggested that dads believe that they’re doing more than they actually are. When it came to supporting children under 12 years of age with remote learning, nearly half of men surveyed said that they’ve been taking on the bulk distance learning-related duties. However, only 3 percent of women seemed to agree while a whopping 80 percent of mothers reported that they’re the ones doing most of the homeschooling.
The results of this study show a clear disconnect and while there’s no way to confirm which perceptions are accurate, there’s an overwhelming amount of past research that shows women carry the bulk of the load for both housework and childrearing. Research also shows that men have a tendency to overestimate exactly how much work they do around the home.
Sadly, our counterparts who dwell across the pond don’t have it any easier. New research analyzed by The Observer and reported by The Guardian found that mothers in the UK are providing more than 50 percent of childcare and spending more than 10 to 30 percent more time on homeschooling than their male counterparts. Even worse, it didn’t seem to make a difference if she was “working from home, working outside the home, or not working at all.” Regardless, she was still spending an extra hour-and-a-half on helping kids with remote learning in comparison to men in the same situation. Interestingly, the study also found that the higher the household income, the more dramatic the divide.
“Whatever situation you have, on average it’s the woman doing more, and it’s not because she’s working less,” said Dr, Christopher Rauh, an economist at Cambridge University. “The higher the household income, the more time women are spending homeschooling compared to men,” says Rauh. “People come up with explanations – like women are better at taking care of their children due to evolution – but if that were true, it shouldn’t apply to homeschooling. Yet we also see those differences here.”
We can’t say that these numbers surprise us one bit.