Home Living Mind & Spirit Kids, Not Gender, the Biggest Influence on Work/Care Policy Attitudes

Kids, Not Gender, the Biggest Influence on Work/Care Policy Attitudes

Only 15 percent of Australians can balance work and family responsibilities. Young dads consider paid parental leave and childcare to be as important to their future success at work as mothers. And it’s the same trend in attitudes to shared household work, according to new research.

However, young men without children are least likely to consider supportive work and care policies and shared domestic work at home as important to their future. This is despite the fact they are just as likely as men with children to plan to have a child in the future.

The findings contrast with the attitudes of young women without children, who are more likely than their male peers without children to report that equality in domestic life is very important to their future success at work.

The lead author, Associate Professor Elizabeth Hill from the University of Sydney, said the study reveals the growing momentum among young parents for better work and care policies, regardless of their gender, adding:

The team of researchers from the University of Sydney’s Australian Women’s Working Futures project surveyed more than 2,500 working women and men aged 16 to 40, who were representative of the workforce nationally.

Only 15 percent of respondents strongly agreed that they can balance work and family responsibilities, which Associate Professor Hill said shows a clear gap between what young workers expect and the current level of support at home and in the workplace.

Professor Marian Baird, co-author on the paper, said:

Associate Professor Hill added:

One survey respondent in high-paid and secure work said:

While increased participation of women in the labor market is an objective of governments around the world, the proportion of women working full-time, as opposed to part-time, has remained consistent since the 1970s, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

Professor Marian Baird, co-author on the paper, said:

Women with children told the researchers how the unequal burden of childcare limits their earning capacity as part-time workers, with one working mother saying:

The research, published in the Journal of Sociology, said:

The published statistical analysis reveals that the presence of children, rather than gender, has the biggest influence on whether workers consider balancing work and care as being very important.

The likelihood that men with children report that access to work-care policy (such as paid parental leave and childcare) as “very important” for future success at work is 71 percent compared with 79 percent for women with children, but only 50 percent for men without children. Associate Professor Hill said:

Provided by: University of Sydney [Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.]

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  • Troy was born and raised in Australia and has always wanted to know why and how things work, which led him to his love for science. He is a professional photographer and enjoys taking pictures of Australia's beautiful landscapes. He is also a professional storm chaser where he currently lives in Hervey Bay, Australia.

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