Paid Leave, Child Care Could Help Reduce Gender Inequalities

Jan 21, 2015

A study from UT Austin and the UC-Santa Barbara suggests if more workplaces support work-family balance, women are more likely to prefer egalitarian relationships.
Credit morgueFile

Most young women and men prefer to equally share family and work responsibilities, according to a new study from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of California Santa Barbara.

The researchers found that regardless of their social class, both men and women ages 18 to 32 prefer relationships in which the woman isn’t doing more of the housework and the man isn't spending more time at work.

Women who participated in the survey say they’d prefer to not be the primary caregivers and homemakers, if they could have support from their workplaces.

"So what our study really points to is that if workplaces were able to implement these policies, then it appears to have consequences for how women in particular think about structuring their work and their family life," says David Pedulla, an assistant professor of sociology at UT Austin. The policies he and his colleague Sarah Thébaud, an assistant professor of sociology at the UC-Santa Barbara, looked at are subsidized childcare, paid parental leave, and flexible work schedules.

These policies are not so widespread in the United States, but the researchers say young people in the U.S. would prefer to get more support at work.

The study will be published in the February issue of American Sociological Review.