The UCL (University College London) Centre For Longitudinal Studies recently conducted a survey on parents’ involvement in homeschooling and other developmental activities during the UK COVID-19 lockdown. The survey has found that women spent more than twice the time that men do, with their children in these online developmental activities. The findings from the survey hint at gendered discrepancies, when it comes to sharing the load of parenting duties.

About the survey

Aase Villadsen, Gabriella Conti, and Emla Fitzsimons have authored the survey titled, ‘Parental Involvement in Home Schooling and Developmental Play During Lockdown.’ The survey examines how parental involvement contrasts based on gender, socioeconomic background, and other circumstances during the UK lockdown.

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This research was conducted between 2-31 May 2020. Data was collected through a web survey from over 18,000 parents with pre-school and school-aged children. These parents have taken part in various UCL longitudinal studies since childhood and are between the ages of 19-74 years.

Findings of the survey 

According to the survey, on an average, 64 percent of mothers homeschooled their children on weekdays in lockdown in comparison to only 49 percent fathers. Women invested 1.5 hours more than men on homeschooling daily. Mothers of primary school children spent five hours on homeschooling, two and a half times more than what fathers spent.

In cases of developmental activities, moms in the UK engaged with children more than their fathers. Such interactive activities included reading, playing games, arts, puzzles with the children. For preschool students, moms put in about six hours daily while the fathers, only three. Dads of primary school goers did such activities for only 1.8 hours. In comparison, the mothers spent almost double the time, 3.4 hours.

While women still spend more time on the homeschooling of secondary school children, the gap reduced, with women’s share of the time being 1.9 hours and the men’s, 1.3 hours. Almost 63 percent of graduate parents were homeschooling their children compared to 49 percent with lower levels of education.

As compared to parents who were not working amidst the pandemic, those who did, spent 1.3 hours less on homeschooling per day. Across all age groups, about 30 percent of participants reported being financially worse off since the start of the COVID-19.

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Emla Fitzsimons, co-author of the research said, “Many mothers who have put their careers on hold to provide educational support for their children will need to adjust again once schools reopen and the furlough scheme tapers off”, reports The Guardian.

Statistics by Office for National Statistics

Office for National Statistics has also come up with similar results, reports The Guardian. 6,000 adults were surveyed between the months of April and June this year. They belonged to households with children aged 18 years or less.

Findings suggest women carried out more child care duties than men during the UK COVID-19 quarantine. The daily average for women amounted to more than three hours whereas, for men, it was just two. The ratio of estimated unpaid and paid work minutes per day in 2020 for women is 250 minutes for unpaid and 140 for paid. However, for men the gap in ratio is lower; 230 minutes for unpaid work to 170 for paid work.

Picture By: Baby Center.com

Bhavya Gupta is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.

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