Acumen InsightsBlog

Gender Roles Converge in the Modern Family

By October 25, 2013 No Comments

How has life changed for men and women since 1965? A study by Pew Research offers a rare look at the way Americans spend their time today versus 50 years ago—down to the hour. The results paint a picture of how traditional gender roles—men as breadwinner, women as homemaker—have converged in the modern family.


Here’s the picture for dad. As compared to 1965, his time spent watching the kids has nearly tripled from 2.5 hours per week then to 7 hours per week today. His time spent on housework has more than doubled from 4 hours to 10 hours. And Dad’s average work week has decreased slightly, from 42 to 37 hours.


”Fathers have by no means caught up to mothers in terms of time spent caring for children and doing household chores, but there has been some gender convergence in the way they divide their time between work and home,” Pew says about the study.


It all adds up to a nearly equal share of responsibilities for mothers and fathers, at 53 and 54 hours each week, respectively. Pew shows that parents today are more overwhelmed than ever juggling the roles they must play inside and outside the home. This burden is felt just about equally between men and women—50 percent of working dads and 56 percent of working moms say they find it difficult to balance work and home life.


Parents, especially dads, may be their own worst critics. Even though children are getting more hours of attention than 50 years ago, a third of modern parents don’t think they’re spending enough time with their kids. Fathers are much more likely to feel this way, 46 percent versus 23 percent of mothers. Nearly three quarters of mothers surveyed said they feel they’re doing a good or excellent job of parenting, while only 64 percent of fathers feel they’re making the grade.

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