Men are more likely than women to be granted flexible working hours to take care of a child but they are not making the most out of it, finds new research.
A study published by the American Sociological Association found men who requested flex time or remote work arrangements were 13% more likely than women to receive it.
The research, of more than 600 people aged 18 to 65, stated 24% of the respondents found men who requested flexible arrangements to take care of family “extremely likeable” compared to favourable impressions for just 3% of women.
It seems that although women have caught up a lot with men in terms of income, in 2012, among US Millennial workers aged 25 to 34, women’s hourly earnings were 93% of those of men, but the perceptions that women should be more family-oriented than men has yet to change.
Study author Christin Munsch, assistant professor of sociology at Furman University said the results demonstrate how cultural notions of parenting influence perceptions of people who request flexible work.
“Today we think of women’s responsibilities as including paid labour and domestic obligations but we still regard bread-winning as men’s primary responsibility and we feel grateful men contribute in the realm of childcare or to other household tasks,” she said in a press release.
Whether men taking up family chores are likeable or not, today’s Millennial fathers are certainly more committed to families compared to their fathers and grandfathers.
According to Boston College’s Center for Work and Family, 93% of millennial men said it was important for employers to provide paid paternity or parental leave, compared with 88% of Generation X fathers and 77 % of Baby Boomers.
However in a commentary in the Los Angeles Times by Steven I. Weiss, managing editor at The Jewish Channel, he argued that millennial fathers are less family-caring than most would have thought.
He pointed out Pew research in 2013 showing that 40% of Millennial women have reduced their work hours or taken a significant amount of time off to care for a child or family member; only about a quarter of millennial men have done the same.
When Millennials were asked whether “being a working parent makes it harder to advance in a job or career,” only 19% of men said yes, compared to more than 60% of women.
“Like our fathers and grandfathers before us, when forced to choose between career and family, Millennial men are choosing their careers, leaving their wives overburdened with children and household responsibilities. We’re hypocrites,” said Weiss in his commentary.
In another survey by Pew, 91% of Millennial women said that a “very important” quality in a good husband is being a good father, and almost as many women said a good husband is someone who will “put his family before anything else.”
Only about a third said a good husband “provides a good income.”
In general, ladies and the society admire men who are willing to take up family responsibilities, but will they find them?
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