Locking down working mothers…But it could change men’s behaviour longer term

An article on Radio 4’s Today at the end of May discussed the impact of the lockdown on 2-parent, gender-opposite couples. Christine Farquharson of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, which carried out the research (https://www.ifs.org.uk/), and Justine Roberts, Mumsnet CEO, spoke to Mishal Husain.

Reflecting the situation of some of our coaching clients, the study shows the lockdown is putting huge pressure on parents, and potentially causing long-term harm to women’s careers and increasing the gender pay gap.

Findings: mothers have reduced their working hours by 20%, have 50% of their working hours interrupted or shared with other activities, and are more likely to have lost paid work. This results in the average mother now working about a third of the uninterrupted working hours of the average father compared to 60% in 2014/15.

Justine anecdotally highlighted the “motherhood penalty” and that same-gender households share home responsibilities equally.

Positively, men’s experience may result in more sharing of childcare and household responsibilities once lockdown ends. Having twins, my husband’s attitude changed when two babies meant he had to step in and help more than the partners of my friends with “just” one baby.

Janet Hayes