Women take on more childcare responsibilities, even when working full-time: NUS study

23 June, 2020

Photo: ST Photo/Kua Chee Siong

Mothers are known to take on a ‘second shift’; they work their first shifts in their workplaces before going home to care for their families in the second shift. Professor Wei-Jun Jean Yeung (NUS Department of Sociology & Centre for Family and Population Research (CFPR)) discusses the parental division of labour at home in ‘Women take on more childcare responsibilities, even when working full-time: NUS study’ in The Straits Times.

In this article, Prof Yeung draws from her findings from the Singapore Longitudinal EArly Development Study (SG LEADS), commissioned by Singapore’s Ministry of Education. The research showed that mothers spend more time with their children on average. Moreover, mothers were primarily in charge of caregiving and academic pursuits, whereas fathers were more involved in play and providing companionship. However, what startled Prof Yeung was the fact that ‘fathers’ time on weekdays is almost the same whether the mother is working or a stay-home mum’. Prof Yeung cautions that such divisions of labour could result in little time for mothers to rest after formal work. Mothers thus face a higher potential for experiencing high levels of stress and depression. In light of the stresses that full-time working mothers face, homes and labour markets are encouraged to be more gender equal.

Fathers are also encouraged to focus on the positives of being more involved at home. Whereas children gain developmental support from their fathers, egalitarian gender relations reduce family tensions and conflicts. Fathers are also shown to be happier be happier by sharing more activities with their families. As most Singaporeans are now working from home, Prof Yeung hopes fathers will take this opportunity to be more pro-active in their families. By being good role models, parents can influence their children to adopt similar values and change the way that families are formed in the future.

Read the full article here.


Other findings from the SG LEADS study can be found via the following links: