A new survey has confirmed what working mothers have been saying for years. Working mums are doing the lion’s share of childcare.
ReachTEL conducted the poll for parents lobby group, The Parenthood and Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.
The survey of 1,087 working mothers with children under 18, found that less than five percent of men are shouldering the childcare burden while almost 80 percent of working mums are doing it all.
The question is, though, why does this phenomenon persist?
The idea of the lazy dad sitting around waiting for his dinner while mum handles the kids and cooks the meals is so outdated as to be laughable.
Jo Briskey, Executive Director of The Parenthood agrees. "What these results show is our society’s persistence with the 1950s notion that mum’s primary job is to look after the kids."
“I know that more dads want to take on more of the child rearing responsibilities but our workplace culture and expectations continue to make this difficult - and our results reflect this.
“If we’re going to achieve true gender equality we really need to see more dads picking up the slack - which means greater workplace flexibility and challenging the notion that dad’s primary job is to be the provider."
The National Employment Standards set out ten minimum rights for workers including the right to request flexible working arrangements.
Anika Wells, lawyer and Women's Committee chair at Maurice Blackburn says, “This criteria is very deliberately not gender specific. Men who have responsibility for the care of a child are equally entitled to apply for flexible working arrangements and men are equally protected under Australian discrimination laws. In this regard the workplace is actually a level playing field but it is clear that is not widely capitalised on.”
“If you are a parent, carer or have responsibility for the care of a child who is school-aged or younger, you have the right to request flexible working arrangements such as modified hours of work, job sharing or shift splitting or working from home, regardless of your gender.”
In terms of the law men have all the same rights as women to request flexible working arrangements.
If you are a dad, your caring responsibilities should not be used against you in the workplace. If they are, you have the right to pursue a case of discrimination under the law. Sadly, we know the reality is that many dads will never take this step - these statistics show dads are not securing flexible work arrangements and they are missing out on the essential early time with their new child.