- Housework responsibilities increased greatly in European households during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The increase in childcare responsibilities was particularly significant. This put a massive burden on working parents, especially mothers.
- Although many fathers contributed as well, mothers were far more likely to increase their workload. Mothers also increased their workload by more hours than fathers. As a result, the gender gap measured in the number of hours spent on unpaid duties shows a significant increase when compared to the period before the pandemic.
- None of these gaps can be explained by dissimilarities in men’s and women’s working conditions, or by the time availability of men and women in general. Instead, it is very likely that traditional gender roles continue to play a crucial role in shaping the division of work between the partners.
- If experienced for a prolonged period, the extreme double burden of paid employment and work in the home can have detrimental effects both for wellbeing and employment. It therefore requires policy attention.
- Although mothers were worse affected, attention also needs to be paid to those fathers that made significant contributions to work in the home.
Division of Childcare and Housework among Men and Women during COVID-19 lockdowns