In the News
The economy is forcing some gender, parenting, and work issues to the forefront. A recent article in the New York Times is a veritable playground of issues that we will discuss at the conference. For example:
On average, employed women devote much more time to child care and
housework than employed men do, according to recent data from the
government’s American Time Use Survey analyzed by two economists, Alan
B. Krueger and Andreas Mueller.
When women are unemployed and looking for a job, the time they spend
daily taking care of children nearly doubles. Unemployed men’s child
care duties, by contrast, are virtually identical to those of their
working counterparts, and they instead spend more time sleeping,
watching TV and looking for a job, along with other domestic activities.
. . . .
Historically, the way couples divide household jobs has been fairly
resistant to change, says Heidi Hartmann, president and chief economist
at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
“Over a long,
20-year period, married men have stepped up to the plate a little bit,
but not as much as married women have dropped off in the time they
spend on household chores,” Ms. Hartmann says. This suggests some
domestic duties have been outsourced, as when takeout substitutes for
cooking, for example. And as declining incomes force families to cut
back on these outlays, she says, “women will most likely pick up the
A severe recession could put pressure on these roles.
Economic pressures often change responsibilities, and even self-image, in partnerships and marriages. Do hard economic times erase equality gains that women may have made in the home and in the office? Do they have to?