Child-rearing mostly done by mothers, including working mothers

08/10/2015 15:00

According to a survey carried out by Statistics Netherlands,  parenting tasks are shared equally by both parents in more than half of Dutch families. However, when only one parent takes on such tasks it is usually the mother, even when both parents are working equally long hours in paid jobs.

Working equally long hours in paid jobs: mothers more involved in child-rearing than fathers

Sharing of parenting tasks varies according to whether or not both parents have paid work. Fathers are only more involved in all or most parenting tasks when the mother is employed (part time or full time) and the father is not. Even when both parents are working equally long hours in full time or part time employment, mothers take on most child-rearing tasks.

Division of parenting tasks between parents working equal hours, 2013

Dressing and nursing children done much more often by mothers

Playing with children is a task shared equally between the parents in 85 percent of working families, taking the children to bed is shared equally by 71 percent. However, when asked which one of the working parents is usually involved in certain tasks ‘always or most of the time’, the parents’ answer for all tasks is: the mother. This is especially true for dressing children, done by the mother in 44 percent of the cases and less than 3 percent by the father. The most time-consuming task, namely nursing a sick child, is nearly 3.5 times more likely to be done by the mother all or most of the time. In 31 percent of the families where both parents are working equally long hours in paid jobs, mothers stay at home to look after a sick child, while fathers do so in only 9 percent.

Father working more than mother: 11 percent of the mothers dissatisfied about division of tasks

Most parents are satisfied about the way they share tasks around raising and looking after the children. There is a significant difference between couples working equally long hours in paid jobs and couples where the father works more than the mother. In the former case, both the fathers and the mothers are reasonably (93 percent) to very satisfied (95 percent) about the division of tasks. In the latter case, when the father works more than the mother, the ratio of satisfied mothers is smaller: over 11 percent of the mothers is not satisfied.