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The Toll of Parenting on the American Woman’s Workweek

Though they pick up more hours than ever, mothers’ proportion in the workforce has stalled, finds a new report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research.
Chief executive of California-based social and educational group for parents Club MomMe, Rachel Pitzel, at home.
Chief executive of California-based social and educational group for parents Club MomMe, Rachel Pitzel, at home.Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

More women than ever are serving as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, though still far fewer women than men reach this level. American women are being paid more in general, but still less than men. And according to new research, they’re also working more hours—again, however, fewer than men—and they are starting to outnumber men in part-time work. These disparities are even more pronounced when the women are mothers and the men are fathers, and they’re persistent, according to a report released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research last week.

“The role of the father still is to ‘bring in the bacon,’ and make money,” said Ariane Hegewisch, one of the authors of IWPR’s report. “The role of the mother is to work for pay but to [also] have the main care responsibilities.” It sounds like a sexist trope, but after analyzing the U.S. Current Population Survey through 2017 for workers ages 25 to 64, IWPR found that for the average worker, it’s true: Fathers work more hours than other men, and mothers work fewer hours than other women.