According to a new survey conducted by The Fatherhood Institute, British men will spend 24 minutes caring for children, for every hour done by women. This makes UK parents officially the worst in the developed world at sharing their childcare responsibilities, according to the Fatherhood Institute’s Fairness In Families Index (FIFI), published today.
However before you get too depressed UK men and women are better at sharing housework than childcare: British men do 34 minutes of housework and cooking for every hour done by women.
What is interesting about this survey is that, behind the media grabbing headlines, there is a serious message about why there is such a gulf between British men’s and women’s caring work.
Choices about who does what when children are born are not made in a vacuum. The Fatherhood Institute analysis is that UK dads and mums are held back from enjoying greater gender equality, not by men’s lack of interest in looking after children, but rather by three key factors: our gender pay gap, our highly unequal parenting leave system, and our mother-centric family services.
They have identified three key policy changes the UK government could make to hasten progress towards gender equality:
1. Redesign parenting leave, moving towards a Scandinavian-style system including a substantial period of well-paid, ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ leave for fathers
2. Strengthen efforts to reduce the gender pay gap
3. Require early years, schools, social work and maternity services to publish data on their engagement with fathers; and be inspected on this by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission.
Fatherhood Institute chair Will McDonald is quoted as saying : “It’s clear that today’s fathers want to play a substantial role in caring for their young children – and mothers want more sharing too. Having dads more involved brings benefits for the children, the mothers, the couple and society.
“What our analysis shows is that compared to other countries, the UK has failed to create the structures to support families to achieve the greater sharing that they want, and that is so important for our children’s futures. This needs to change, or we will continue to fall behind.”
Rt Hon Maria Miller MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, said: “The findings of the Fairness in Families Index are worrying. Businesses cannot afford to ignore the parenting revolution that millennials want to see and the PM won’t succeed in his vision of eliminating the gender pay gap unless we see a more equal sharing of parental duties as the new norm.
“Time out of the labour market to look after young children sets back women’s earning power. This Government’s done more than any other to help provide the framework: the right for everyone to request flexible working and the introduction of shared parental leave but what we haven’t seen is a shift in workplace attitudes. So now men are encountering the same prejudice many women face when they take up their new right to shared parental leave.
“The best employers know they need to support fathers as well as mothers to get the best out of their workforce. Until fathers can take up more parental responsibility, particularly when their children are very young, we won’t see a reduction in the gender pay gap.”
What are your experiences ?
How do you juggle work, life and family balance?
Read more here at -> The Fatherhood Institute