Quality early care and education are truly a gifts that will keep on giving, not only to mothers, but to all of us. We’re not saying that it’s only important to mothers; fathers need and want this too. However, there has been much research on its impact on mothers, especially single mothers. According to the Center for American Progress, “...although mothers are now the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American households with children, women spend more than twice as much time as men providing primary care to children.
A new study released by the Center for Women and Work (CWW) at the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University describes how home-based workers have fared three years after unionization and only four years after they gained the right to organize.
I joined a distinguished panel of researchers, advocates, and experts at the Yale Club on Thursday, January 19th when I presented our latest studies on increasing the access of low-income women to child care.
The panel was led by Jessica Sager, Co-Founder and Executive Director of All Our Kin, an innovative Connecticut-based program that has had significant success in training child care providers and increasing the economic security of low-income women.
To many of us, investing in child care is a no-brainer, but rigorous data from the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis showed that for every dollar invested in child care, the state of Connecticut earned $15-20 in economic benefits. In other words, child care not only pays for itself, but has a significant multiplier effect on the economy and on our society.
Fifteen other states have organized child care provider unions, and each has different rules. Some include only workers who participate in taxpayer funded programs that assist low-income parents. Others encompass all providers, and those who would rather not participate must still pay a fee.
Union officials say their primary goal is to work with the state to professionalize a disparate industry that doesn't benefit from a strong presence among lawmakers.
Of the 12.2 million American children under the age of five whose mothers are in the paid workforce, nearly a third (32 percent) are "regularly" cared for by their fathers, compared with 26 percent nine years ago.
Which hardly means that fathers come close to mothers in the numbers that are the primary or regular caregivers for their children. Still, if the goal is eventual parity at home and work, this is a small (but statistically significant) step in the right direction. Right?
On the one hand, the reason for the increase in fathers as caregivers is not that men have "opted out" of the workforce in swarms, motivated by a new yearning to be with their children. Most of them left their jobs because they lost them. The Great Recession was dubbed the "Mancession" by economists, because it fell far harder on men than women. Another of its results -- that women now account for 50 percent of all workers for the first time in history -- is a similarly unclear "victory." Women caught up not because they sped up, but rather because men slowed down. I'm not sure that counts as progress.
And yet, change is born of new norms. If you see something often enough, it becomes what you expect to see. The more we see fathers staying home with children, whatever their reasons, the more accepted it becomes for fathers to be at home with children. Dads who are clearly involved, whether by choice or by circumstance, lead us to eventually assume that's just what Dads do. The more men are "regular" caregivers, the more they will be perceived as such -- even presumed to be such -- and the freer they will be to take on that role.
Among fathers with a wife in the workforce, 32 percent were a regular source of care for their children under age 15, up from 26 percent in 2002, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. Among these fathers with preschool-age children, one in five fathers was the primary caregiver, meaning their child spent more time in their care than any other type of arrangement.
The National Women's Law Center's 8th annual review of key child care subsidy policies in all fifty states and the District of Columbia reveals that families were worse off in 37 states than they were in 2010 under one or more child care assistance policies. Families are not only worse off in 2011 than they were in 2010, but are also worse off than a decade ago. Families in only eleven states were better off under one or more child care policy areas than last year, a sharp contrast to NWLC’s findings in the previous year when families in thirty-four states were better off in 2010 than they were in 2009 and worse off in only fifteen states.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey documents the ways Americans spend their days. The findings reflect some gender differences in time spent working, on housework, on leisure activites, exercising, and on childcare.
On the days that they worked, employed men worked 41 minutes more than employed women. This difference partly reflects women's greater likelihood of working part time. However, even among full-time workers (those usually working 35 hours or more per week), men worked longer than women--8.2 hours compared with 7.8 hours.
On the days that they worked, 24 percent of employed persons did some or all of their work at home, and 83 percent did some or all of their work at their workplace. Men and women were about equally likely to do some or all of their work at home.
On an average day, 84 percent of women and 67 percent of men spent some time doing household activities such as housework, cooking, lawn care, or financial and other household management.
On the days that they did household activities, women spent an average of 2.6 hours on such activities, while men spent 2.1 hours.
On an average day, 20 percent of men did housework--such as cleaning or doing laundry--compared with 49 percent of women. Forty-one percent of men did food preparation or cleanup, compared with 68 percent of women.
On an average day, nearly everyone age 15 and over engaged in some sort of leisure activity, such as watching TV, socializing, or exercising. Of those who engaged in leisure activities, men spent more time in these activities (5.8 hours) than did women (5.1 hours).
Watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time (2.7 hours per day), accounting for about half of leisure time, on average, for those age 15 and over. Socializing, such as visiting with friends or attending or hosting social events, was the next most common leisure activity, accounting for nearly three-quarters of an hour per day.
Men were more likely than women to participate in sports, exercise, or recreation on any given day--22 percent compared with 16 percent. On the days that they participated, men also spent more time in these activities than did women--1.9 hours compared with 1.3 hours.
On an average day, among adults living in households with children under 6, women spent 1.1 hours providing physical care (such as bathing or feeding a child) to household children; by contrast, men spent 26 minutes providing physical care.