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Working Mothers During the Pandemic: Mounting Domestic Duties & Insufficient Support

Between February 25 and March 24, CommercialCafe conducted a survey aimed at working or recently unemployed mothers. Some 1,083 women answered questions about their work, the number of children in their care and the effects of the pandemic on their day-to-day lives. The survey tried to gauge any significant shifts in the amount and distribution of housekeeping and childcare duties among family members, the number of hours women spend at work and what they feel would greatly improve their situation.

Nearly Two-Thirds of Women Still Do All or Most Housekeeping & Childcare in the Home

The closure or intermittent re-opening of daycares, kindergartens, and schools has affected both mothers and fathers. Nevertheless, evidence points to the fact that women have been saddled with a larger share of pandemic childcare and housekeeping responsibilities. Some 45% of respondents felt that the amount of domestic work they were doing has increased since the onset of the pandemic. Moreover, 53% of employed women said that work around the house and child supervision took up most of their time during the day. Another 46% reported spending most of their time on work and career development.

Are women getting any help in the face of this increased workload? While 30% of respondents said they share their tasks evenly with their partner, approximately 49% of women were doing most of the domestic work, and 15% were doing all of the work. Only 6% said that their partners had assumed a larger share of the housekeeping and childcare duties.

Helping Working Mothers – Flexible Hours & Affordable Childcare

Working Mothers During the Pandemic: Mounting Domestic Duties & Insufficient Support

Working Mothers During the Pandemic: Mounting Domestic Duties & Insufficient Support

The lockdowns signaled the beginning of a large-scale experiment in remote working that got many people worried about the effect that various distractions in the home would have on worker productivity. The lack of separation between home life and work, as well as the lack of a dedicated office, has made it difficult for some to conduct their work as usual. For mothers, these worries are heightened by their increased domestic workload.

Some 31% of respondents said they were having trouble focusing throughout the day, and 17% reported working longer hours to make up for breaks they had to take throughout the day. While 35% felt that things stayed the same in terms of their schedule, another 13% had to reduce the number of hours on the job because of their mounting household and childcaring responsibilities.

Roughly a third of mothers said they would like to continue working from home full-time, and another 37% prefer a flexible schedule. However, 30% of respondents – a significant contingent – signaled their wish to return to the office and exclusively work there.

Asked about what would make their life easier, 47% of mothers said they would like their employers to keep offering flexible work schedules even once schools and kindergartens are open. With nearly 4.5 million U.S. daycare slots that might be permanently lost due to the pandemic, 26% of respondents think that available and affordable childcare options would also greatly benefit working mothers. Finally, some 27% would like a more equal allocation of household and childcare tasks within their family.

For more details on this survey, as well as additional insights from female professionals from different fields – from teachers to CEOs – read the full article on the CommercialCafe blog.

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