We're Not There Yet
Another Pew Research Center poll was announced today. This one asked mothers and fathers about their ideal job - full-time, part-time or not working at all. Not surprisingly, mothers chose part-time work. But this preference is growing stronger over the years; it is now the ideal for 60% of working mothers (and 33% of SAHMs). The answer for fathers is still overwhelmingly for full-time work (72% list this as their ideal). The survey includes many statistics on the public's opinion of whether working mothers are good or bad for kids, mothers' opinions on how much they should work, and the ideal work arrangement for mothers, but no similar statistics for fathers. Hmmm.
The primary finding in the study, and that discussed most in analyses of the data, is that while mothers desire part-time work, the majority of working mothers do not actually have part-time schedules. There is a disconnect between what women want and what they have. Not so for men, it seems.
I see the survey as evidence that we've still got a long way to go to reach gender equality. What's best for kids shouldn't be just about the work lives of mothers. It should be about the involvement of all parents.