Women take on more work after children, study claims

Family | 17 May 2015 1

Women take on more work than their husbands or partners after childbirth, a study has claimed.

Researchers at the University of Ohio surveyed educated, dual -income couples about their experiences after the birth of children. Each partner was asked to assess changes to their family workload and then to keep detailed diaries of their actual responsibilities.

According to the study, both men and women believed their responsibilities had increased by around four hours a day since the children were born, but an analysis of the diaries suggested that in fact the women’s workload had increased by two hours a day while the men’s had only done so by 40 minutes.

The study was followed up when the subjects’ children reached the age of nine months. At that point, the men and women still believed that their responsibilities had increased equally but in fact women were then undertaking 22 hours of childcare per week, on top of paid work and housework. The men, by contrast, undertook an additional 14 hours of childcare but five fewer hours of housework than before the birth.

Women undertook around six hours of so-called ‘child engagement’ per week – reading to and playing with the children – while the men did four hours of this each week on average.

Study co-author Claire Kamp Dush told PsyPost:

“Women ended up shouldering a lot more of the work that comes with a new baby, even though both men and women thought they added the same amount of additional work.”

She added:

“These are the couples you would expect to have the most egalitarian relationships. They have the education, the financial resources and the other factors that researchers have believed would lead to equal sharing of responsibilities. But that’s not what we found.”

The study was published in The Journal of Marriage and Family. Read more here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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    1. Dr. Nigel Miles says:

      Yes in Ohio. But what about the other 49 States?

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