When Highly Educated Couples Have a Baby, a Gender Gap Opens Up in Household Workload

A study by researchers at Ohio State University has found that when highly educated dual-career couples have a baby, both the man and woman believe that their daily workloads increased about 4 hours a day. But when researchers asked a group to keep detailed diaries of how they spent their time, they found that both men and women overestimated how much additional time they spent on household duties. The diaries showed that women had an increased workload of about two hours a day while men added an average of 40 minutes in time spent on work in the home.

Kamp_Dush__Claire_03-31-15Claire Kamp Dush, an associate professor of human sciences at Ohio State University and an author of the study, said that “women ended up shouldering a lot more work that comes with a new baby, even though both men and women thought they added the same amount of additional work.”

Dr. Kamp Dush also noted that the couples in the study had a high level of education, good-paying jobs, and equally shared housework duties before the baby arrived. “These are the couples you would expect to have the most egalitarian relationships. But that’s not what we found.”

Dr. Kamp Dush is a graduate of the University of Illinois. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in human development and family studies at Pennsylvania State University. Co-authors of the study were Jill Yavorsky, a doctoral student in sociology at Ohio State and Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, a professor of human sciences at the university.

The research, “The Production of Inequality: The Gender Division of Labor Across the Transition to Parenthood,” was published in the June 2015 issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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