While the lockdown has been difficult for everyone around the world, it has been especially tough for parents who are working from home, and managing household chores, their kids and their professional commitments. But, a recent study has revealed that the lockdown has not been fair to working mothers, in general, and that they have been able to do only one hour of uninterrupted paid work, as compared to the three hours clocked in by working fathers. The study, conducted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and the UCL Institute of Education, brings to light the imbalance between working men and women.
According to The Guardian, the report suggests that mothers in England are more likely to have lost their jobs in lockdown than fathers. This revelation seems to have exacerbated fears of inequality and increase in wage gap amid the coronavirus crisis.
For the study, an online survey was conducted between April 29 and May 15, to find out how 3,500 families with parents belonging to the opposite gender, are dividing work and domestic responsibilities. The responses were clear: mothers were more likely to have left paid work since February, than fathers; between mothers and fathers who are both employed, the former has had to see a bigger proportional reduction in hours of work; and between the two parents, the mothers are more likely to be spending their work hours taking care of children simultaneously.
The report also finds that moms are are 23 per cent more likely than dads to have lost their jobs either temporarily or permanently. Moms are also 47 per cent more likely to have quit their jobs amid the current crisis, and 14 per cent more likely to have been furloughed.
Working hours, too, have significantly reduced for mothers. Prior to this, while working mothers did paid work for 6.3 hours of a weekday on average, they are now able to do only 4.9 hours. Working fathers’ hours have been impacted, too, but proportionally less: from 8.6 hours before the crisis to 7.2 hours now.
“Mothers are more likely than fathers to have moved out of paid work since the start of lockdown. They have reduced their working hours more than fathers even if they are still working and they experience more interruptions while they work from home than fathers, particularly due to caring for children. Together these factors mean that mothers now are only doing a third of the uninterrupted paid-work hours that fathers are. A risk is that the lockdown leads to a further increase in the gender wage gap,” Alison Andrew, a senior research economist at IFS, said in a press release.