New research reveals men step away from helping with housework, and aren't doing the childcare effort they may believe they're doing, once kids enter into the domestic setting and it could be a reason why working mothers face greater challenges in climbing corporate leadership ranks.
The study, "The Origin of Gender Inequalities in Dual-Earner, College Educated Couples: The Division of Labor at the Transition to Parenthood," authored by Ohio State University Associate Professor Claire Kamp Dush, says a slew of issues, from inadequate paid parental leave and persistent traditional gender norms, are factors in why modern couples who strive to share work and home duties fairly find it nearly impossible and may be a big reason why women aren't able to achieve pre-baby career goals.
The study tracked 182 couples having their first child, chronicling everything from housework and career responsibilities in daily diaries during pregnancy and post baby arrival. It also investigated the couples' perceptions of the division of labor before and after a child born and through the nine months after birth.
At the outset the couples strived to share household work equally and there was a balanced division of labor of home duties and career duties and most couples wanted that scenario to continue post baby delivery.
But nine months after a child came into their lives the couples' division of house and childcare responsibilities wasn't quite as equitable, with women doing more child care and less paid hours of work and men doing a bit more housework but just half the hours of childcare compared to women.
When researchers dug into a true accounting of hours spent on childcare, housework and job hours the gap between men and women, and what they thought they were doing and the actual reality, was distorted in all the areas.
The new fathers were found to be handling 10 hours of childcare, five hours less than they thought and nine hours of housework, which was one fourth of what they thought they were doing.
Women, on the other hand, added 22 hours of childcare to the workweek while doing the same amount of housework and job work as before having a child.
"Parenthood increased women's total workload by about 4 ½ weeks of 24-hour days, whereas parenthood increased men's total workload by approximately 1 ½ weeks-a 3-week per year gender gap," states the report.
'It is especially fascinating that new parents, particularly men, perceive the work of parenthood to be even more time-consuming than it actually is," the report notes. "Men do much less than they - or their wives - perceive: parenthood only adds 13 hours of work for men."
The result, claims the study, is that women may be compelled to reduce work hours, which will diminish their career efforts.