Men are not emasculated by caring for children

In collaboration with the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London and International Women’s Day, Ipsos MORI finds that the majority of British men no longer see childcare as the preserve of women.

The author(s)

  • Kully Kaur-Ballagan Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Suzanne Hall Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
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Men are not emasculated by caring for children, but they need support from employers to help them share responsibility.

In an exclusive study to mark International Women’s Day, working in collaboration with the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London and International Women’s Day, Ipsos MORI finds that the majority of British men no longer see childcare as the preserve of women. The survey also highlights how, in order to share responsibility for childcare, men need more support from their employers.

Britons agree that a man who stays at home to look after his children is no less of a man than one who goes out to work.

Four in every five Brits (81%) disagree that a man who stays home to look after his children is less of a man, while just 13% agree. Disagreement is higher among women than men (84% vs 78% respectively). Those from older generations are also more likely to disagree, with 87% of those aged 50-64 disagreeing, while just 78% of those under 35 disagree.

Employers should make it easier for men to combine childcare with work.

The vast majority of Britons (78%) agree that employers should make it easier for men to combine childcare with work, slightly higher than the global average of 73%. Meanwhile half of Britons believe that not enough is being done to encourage equality in regard to looking after children and the home.

Half of our participants believe that more needs to be done when it comes to childcare and home care to encourage gender equality. This increases to 60% of women and just 39% of men.

There is uncertainty as to whether discrimination against women looking after children and the home will have ended in twenty years with 36% confident that discrimination against women looking after children and homes will have ended in twenty years and 38% not confident.

 

Kelly Beaver, Managing Director of Ipsos MORI’s Social Research Institute says: “It’s not attitudinal barriers such as concerns about being emasculated that are stopping men from sharing childcare responsibilities equally with their partners. Instead there are real structural barriers that need to be overcome so that men can help play more of a role in the provision of childcare. Just as employers need to do more to help women balance their responsibilities in work and the home, they also need to do the same for men.”

Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia and Chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London says: “There is a real desire among both sexes to tackle the gap between men and women when it comes to looking after children and the home. We need employers to give men the flexibility to balance their careers with childcare responsibilities, which will in turn better enable women to advance in the workplace.”

Glenda Slingsby, International Women’s Day, says: “In modern progressive societies, the responsibility of caring for children and the home is not deemed to be that solely of women. Balanced efforts in raising children and supporting a family should not be gender stereotyped. The rise of women is not about the fall of men, and a more gender-balanced society is a better society. Employers can play a significant part in driving structural and societal change that promotes inclusive concepts of families and their shared responsibilities."

 

 

Key findings from around the world

Men are not emasculated by caring for children, but need support from employers.

A new global survey finds three-quarters of respondents (75%) disagree that a man who stays at home to look after his children is less of a man compared with one in five (18%) who agree. 

The new Ipsos survey across 27 countries, conducted in collaboration with the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London and International Women’s Day, highlights how in order to share responsibility for childcare men need more support from employers. 

Globally, 75% disagree that a man who stays at home to look after his children is less of man, but these opinions vary greatly between countries:

  • Those most likely to disagree with this statement are in Serbia (92%), the Netherlands (90%) and Colombia (87%).
  • However, agreement rises to 76% in South Korea and to 39% in India.
  • In Australia, only 13% agree that a man staying at home to look after his children is less of a man, while the vast majority (81%) disagree. 
  • Men are more likely to agree that a man who stays home to look after his children is less of a man (20%) than women (16%).
  • Younger people are also more likely to agree with this statement; one in five (22%) of those under 35 agree compared to one in eight (13%) of those aged between 50-64.

Three-quarters globally (73%) agree that employers should make it easier for men to combine childcare with work compared with just 18% who disagree.

  • There is little difference by gender on this question with 75% of women agreeing compared to 72% of men. 
  • Agreement is highest in Serbia (90%), Chile (83%) and Colombia (81%), and lowest in Japan (58%), Brazil (59%) and Russia (63%).
  • Level of agreement is also contingent with household income. Whereas seven in ten (69%) of those with a low household income agree, this figure rises to three quarters (77%) of those with a high household income.

Globally, the area where people think not enough is being done to achieve equal rights between men and women is looking after children and the home.

  • Close to half (48%) think not enough is being done to achieve equal rights between men and women in looking after children and the home. One in five (22%) say the right amount is being done and only one in twenty (5%) think too much is being done.
  • However, while two in five (41%) of men think not enough is being done, this figure rises to over half (55%) of women.
  • There are also differences by household income. While over two in five (45%) of those on a lower household income think that not enough is being done, this figure rises to half (52%) of those on a higher household income.
  • Looking at country differences, those most likely to say not enough is being done are Serbia (73%), Spain (63%) and Peru (60%). Whereas those who think too much is being done are in India (12%), Turkey (12%) and Brazil (11%).
  • In Australia just four per cent say too much is being done, compared to 44% saying too little.

Public opinion is split though on how confident people feel about whether discrimination against women looking after the children and the home will have ended in twenty years.

  • Two in five (39%) feel confident that discrimination against women looking after children and the home will have ended in 20 years. Roughly the same proportion (42%) say they are not confident.
  • Men are more confident (42%) than women (36%) that discrimination will have ended in 20 years.
  • Younger people are also more confident on this issue; two in five (42%) of those aged under 35 are confident that discrimination will have ended in 20 years compared to over a third (36%) of those aged 50-64.
  • Those most confident are India (59%), Malaysia (55%) and South Africa and Brazil (both 52%). Those least confident are in Hungary (59%), Spain (52%) and Japan (51%).
  • In Great Britain, opinion is split; 36% are confident and a similar proportion (38%) are not confident. In Australia, the balance of opinion is negative; a third (34%) are confident that discrimination against women looking after the children and the home will have ended in 20 years compared to two in five (38%) who are not confident. 

 

Technical details

  • Field dates were Friday, 21 December to Friday 2018 - 4 January 2019
  • 16 of the 27 countries surveyed online generate nationally representative samples in their countries (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and United States).
  • Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Serbia, South Africa and Turkey produce a national sample that is more urban & educated, and with higher incomes than their fellow citizens.  We refer to these respondents as “Upper Deck Consumer Citizens”.  They are not nationally representative of their country.
  • Approximately 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis via the Ipsos Online Panel with the exception of Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Hungary, India, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey, where each have a sample approximately 500+.

 

The author(s)

  • Kully Kaur-Ballagan Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Suzanne Hall Ipsos Public Affairs, UK

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