You’re reading In Her Words, where women rule the headlines.
“The optimistic tale of the modern, involved dad has been greatly exaggerated.”
— Dr. Darcy Lockman, a clinical psychologist and author of “All the Rage: Mothers, Fathers, and the Myth of Equal Partnership.”
The invisible, unpaid work that women are often expected to shoulder — like raising children and managing households — is an “urgent matter” of gender justice, according to a new report on modern fatherhood.
The report, The State of the World’s Fathers, which examines data from over two dozen countries and information from nearly 12,000 people, was released this week by Promundo, a global advocacy group focused on gender-equality issues, and MenCare, a campaign focused on men’s family involvement.
Its major finding: that women still spend way more time than men, up to 10 times as much, on unpaid tasks like child care and senior care, as well as on volunteer work and domestic chores.
In order to tip the scales toward parity in the homes of heterosexual couples, the report says that men would need to spend at least 50 more minutes a day caring for children and households — and women, 50 minutes less.
That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise: The data supports widely cited findings from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that found in 2018 that women in the United States spend about 1.6 times as much time as men do on such work. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that mothers shoulder 65 percent of child-care work.
Among the new report’s other findings:
Child care is still considered “women’s work”
The vast majority of women and men in 23 countries outside North America agreed that “changing diapers, giving baths to children, and feeding children should be the mother’s responsibility.”
Decisions are left to dads
In these countries, the majority of men agreed that “a man should have the final word about decisions in his home.”
Paternity leave is still rare
Eighty-five percent of fathers across seven countries, the U.S. included, said they would do anything to be very involved in the early weeks or months of caring for their new child. So, what’s holding them back?
A lack of adequate, equal, paid paternity leave, for one — whether through employer or government action. Fewer than half of the world’s countries offer paid paternity leave.
In the U.S., where neither paid maternity nor paternity leave is guaranteed, 28 percent of fathers said they took at least two weeks off after the arrival of their child. (Only a handful of countries don’t offer some form of paid maternity leave.)
Where paid paternity leave exists, it is often less than three weeks — sometimes only a few days. Further, men often leave it on the table.
Another hurdle, the report said, is a widespread perception that women are more competent caregivers.
Moms need a break
Across seven middle- and high-income countries surveyed — including the U.S., Britain and Japan — over 65 percent of women said mothers would have better physical health if fathers took at least two weeks of paternity leave. Over 72 percent said mental health would be improved.
But money remains a barrier
From these seven middle- and high-income countries, financial barriers were the greatest reason for not taking more parental leave. “Economic insecurity, active conflict or war, and political instability present tremendous challenges for caregiving,” the report found.
What else is happening
Here are five articles from The Times you might have missed.
Members of the United States national team at training camp in San Jose, Calif., in May. CreditPhotograph by Kelley O’Hara, United States defender
“I started playing on the boys’ team in grade school because I didn’t know there were any girls’ teams around me.” The Women’s World Cup starts today! We asked 108 players about jobs, money and sacrifice. [Read the story]
“Our crimes are not who we are.” A glimpse at women serving very long sentences. Is there life, we asked, after life in prison? [Read the story]
“The current proliferation of wife guys.” An internet “wife guy” is not just a husband, he’s a man who has risen to prominence by posting content about his wife, writes our culture critic Amanda Hess. [Read the story]
“I was, depending on one’s view, the bitch, the saint, the amazon, the token.” Le Anne Schreiber, the first woman to run a major American daily newspaper’s sports section (at The Times), died last week at age 73. [Read the story]
“I just got tired of always worrying what everyone else thought of me.” Learn to dodge workplace land mines, fight bias and not burn out with our new Working Woman’s Handbook, a series of how-tos written by experts. [Read the stories]
Overlooked No More: Alan Turing
For Pride month, our Overlooked obituaries series — repopulating the newspaper’s obituaries section, which was largely devoted to heterosexual white men — is adding the stories of important L.G.B.T.Q. figures.
On this day in 1954, Alan Turing, a British mathematician and forefather of modern computing who is celebrated among scientists and others as a pillar of achievement, died as a criminal. He had been convicted under Victorian laws as a homosexual and forced to endure chemical castration.
Turing did not receive an obituary in The New York Times, until now.
In 2009, the British government apologized for his treatment.
“We’re sorry,” said Gordon Brown, then the prime minister. “Alan and the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted, as he was, under homophobic laws were treated terribly.”
In 2013, Queen Elizabeth II granted him a royal pardon.