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Women have been doing significantly more childcare than men in lockdown, particularly if they have younger children while the gender balance is more even when it comes to homeschooling, which is seen as a ‘more enjoyable’ task than supervising, washing and cleaning.
Mums have been carrying out on average two-thirds more of the childcare duties per day than men in the first month of lockdown, with mums of younger children doing 78% more care, according to an Office for National Statistics survey.
The report says women were delivering an average of three hours and 18 minutes of childcare, particularly non-developmental childcare ie supervising children, washing, feeding and dressing children compared to two hours delivered by men.
Mums did 77% more non-developmental childcare than dads – that is, 53 minutes of non-developmental childcare per day whereas men contributed 30 minutes.
When it came to developmental childcare ie homeschooling parents were more equally balanced, according to the ONS. It added: “Further analysis revealed that parents found developmental care more enjoyable than non-developmental care. This may provide further insight into parents’ involvement in these tasks.”
In addition it says that as well as extra childcare, previous time use analysis has shown that women continued to provide more unpaid work in total, including housework, which was also rated least enjoyable overall.
Moreover, women of younger children were more likely to do more childcare than those with older children. The ONS study shows that, in households with a child aged under five years, women did on average 78% more childcare than men. This gender gap narrowed to just 20% with children aged five to 10 years.
Another report out today found that, between May and June, only half of parents who were homeschooling strongly or somewhat agreed that they were confident in their abilities to homeschool their children. Parents also reported that homeschooling was negatively affecting their jobs and well-being, with nearly a third (30%) agreeing that it was negatively affecting their job. For parents in employment, those in the highest income band of £40,000 or more a year were significantly more likely than lower income bands to say this, at 43%.