Study Finds That Male Professors With Infants and Toddlers Are Not Sharing Child Care Tasks Equally

A father and son team has conducted a study on infant care by men and women college faculty. The results showed that for men and women faculty who take parental leave after the birth of a child, men very rarely shoulder half the duties of child care. The study found that male faculty who take parental leave spend most of their time on pursuits other than child care, such as working on publishing projects.

The researchers surveyed parents on their attitudes and behaviors in 25 child care tasks such as diapering, food preparation, playing with the child, reading, etc. On average women did more than half the work on all 25 tasks. One reason, according to the research, is that women enjoyed doing the tasks more so than men. In ratings of how enjoyable each of the 25 tasks was, women reported enjoying the work more than men on 24 of the 25 tasks.

Given the results of their survey, the authors question whether colleges and universities should be granting equal parental leave benefits to male faculty as they do to female faculty.

The study, “Gender Roles and Infant/Toddler Care: Male and Female Professors on the Tenure Track,” appears in the winter issue of The Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Culture Psychology. It was authored by Steven Rhoads, a political scientist at the University of Virginia and his son Christopher Rhoads, an assistant professor of education at the University of Connecticut. The article can be downloaded here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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