Equally Shared Parenting - Half the Work ... All the Fun

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Here's where we keep you updated on news about parenting as it relates to division of responsibilities, career versus home decisions, work/life balance, and legislative and grass-roots movements toward equality or better choices for families. We'll also throw in our opinions of life as equal parents in a nonequal world, regardless of what's in the news.

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Equality Blog

Monday, March 10, 2008

Slow But Steady

A new paper on gender and family roles was released this past Thursday by the Council on Contemporary Families and sociologists Scott Coltrane (University of California, Riverside) and Oriel Sullivan (Ben Gurion University). This research analyzes 4 decades of data on how many hours men vs women spend on breadwinning, housework and childraising. It is the authors' attempt to answer the feminists' cry of a stalled revolution.

Coltrane and Sullivan clearly respond that the revolution to equalize men and women is not stalled - it has just moved more slowly than some had anticipated way back in the '60's when it began. Men have been slow to take up more housework and childraising tasks, but they are doing so none-the-less.

Here are some particularly ESP-related quotes from the summary paper of this research, as well as several news commentaries:

"These trends are occurring in much of the Western industrial world, suggesting a worldwide movement toward men and women sharing the responsibilities of both work-life and family life."

"Men and women may not be fully equal yet, but the rules of the game have been profoundly and irreversibly changed."

"All these trends are likely to continue for the foreseeable future. According to national opinion polls, belief in gender equality within families continues to gain acceptance among both men and women. And with greater belief in gender equality and more equal sharing of tasks comes the possibility of more equal and open negotiation about who does what in families."

"Couples in the USA who have more equal divisions of labor are less likely to divorce than couples where one partner specializes in breadwinning and the other partner specializes in family work."

"American couples have made remarkable progress in working out mutually satisfying arrangements to share the responsibilities of breadwinning and family care. And polls continue to show increasing approval of such arrangements. So the revolution in gender aspirations and behaviors has not stalled....American couples' beliefs and desires about gender equity have grown to be among the highest in the world."

"The younger set of dads have their own expectations about themselves as to being helpful and participatory. They haven't quite gotten to equality in any sense that a woman would say 'Wow, that's equal,' but they've gotten so much farther down the road." This last quote is from Carol Evans, founder and CEO of Working Mother magazine.

It's me, Amy, again. Reading this stuff makes me happy - and so fortunate to live here and now, and to be among the couples who can already say "Wow, that's equal." ESP.com is all about showing others that it is fully possible to have a gender-equal marriage. Yes, there are challenges (the authors of this paper say the biggest challenges right now are to get workplaces to align better with family priorities), but the rewards are amazing. Not just less divorce, but in our humble opinions, more well-rounded, happier lives for both men and women.

It is a great time to be an ESP believer!


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