Double Standards in Parenting
- What: Double standards in domestic chores
- When: Before birth until death
- Why: Understand the problem, change the assumption
- Where: Extremely prevalent
Women, regardless of other factors like income, race, and religion, handle the majority of childcare duties. Men may pitch in, but certainly aren’t required to do so. A man, performing the exact same domestic and childcare chores as a woman, will ask and likely receive accolades for being an excellent father. For women, the same task won’t even register, much less gain any admiration for a job well done. Yet if a woman fails at the same tasks because an unfair workload or any other circumstances beyond her control, she’s labeled a bad mom. Parenting is hard for anyone of any gender, but it doesn’t have to start on such an unfair assumption.
A man can walk into a job interview and say something along the lines of I can’t get to work before 8:15 because I have to drop my kids off at school and my wife goes to work earlier (in an effort to stagger schedules to reduce childcare costs). That same man will continue with that interview with no grounds for dismissal. To the contrary. In many cases, he will be lauded as a dad that pitches in for his family and will do the same for the company, with a high degree of both loyalty and dedication.
Not so for women. Should a female, in the same vein of open and upfront communication, declare during an interview that she can’t arrive before a specific time because of childcare constraints, most likely most likely she will no longer be considered as a candidate. In fact, laws against asking potential employees about their domestic situation exist for just that reason. A woman who puts her family first means her work and dedication to the company will suffer accordingly.
But you don’t have to believe me. Read this recent article from The New York Times for even more scary statistics about the division of labor in the home.
It would be nice to live in a world where even the basic confessions don’t cost you job opportunities, and more importantly, don’t favor males while at the same time disenfranchising females. But until something changes, we can expect more of the same: grandstanding for doing less and getting more credit for less than equal distribution of domestic labor.
While I can’t change the situation on a large scale, I can at least call attention to the issue. Most men never even notice the disparity. Let’s change the assumption that childcare is women’s work and see what happens. Better yet, let’s value ourselves for the work we do, both at home and beyond, and ask other people to do the same.