Impact of coronavirus on families: Dads take on fewer responsibilities
Research from Utrecht University last year suggested that the coronavirus pandemic could provide an opportunity for emancipation in the Netherlands, as crisis leads to a change in the way families operated and fathers took on more caregiving and homemaking responsibilities.
However, new research conducted by Utrecht University in conjunction with the University of Amsterdam and Radboud University has shown that fathers are once again taking on fewer and fewer tasks within the home.
Fathers once again taking on fewer household jobs
In June 2020, the universities’ COGIS-NL study found that 31 percent of men were doing more to care for their children during coronavirus than they were before the first lockdown was announced in the spring. But recently, researchers have found this number to be declining again.
“The proportion of fathers who said they had started to care more than before the coronavirus crisis has decreased,” says project leader and sociologist Mara Yerkes, “In September, the share had fallen to the level of April (23 percent). In November the percentage fell further to 18 percent.” She says that the division of workload in November 2020 resembled that of before the coronavirus crisis.
Few families in the Netherlands feel housework is divided equally
Women generally take on the bulk share of housework and childcare, regardless of whether or not they themselves also work full-time jobs. Before the outbreak of coronavirus in the Netherlands, only around a third of two-parent households said the housework was divided (fairly) equally. But over the summer, the study found that that percentage had risen to around 40 percent, before dropping once again to 33 percent in November.
Yerkes states that in families where the work isn’t divided evenly, mothers still take on more work than fathers. In spite of this, however, COGIS-NL found that most parents remain satisfied with the division of housework: “In our last measurement, fathers gave the distribution an average score of 7,5. They clearly scored higher than mothers, who gave the distribution a 6,9,” says Yerkes.
Visit Utrecht University's website for more information about the COGIS-NL study.