Study: Parental leave may hurt women in workplace

Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – The birth of a new baby often means a parent chooses to stay home, but while women breast-feed and change diapers, men use the time off to advance their careers, according to a new study.

While men and women agree in theory that both should share child care duties, only three of 109 males in the study reported they did half the work, while 70 of 73 women reported doing the majority.

The study surveyed 181 married professors on a tenure track. Researchers found women on leave focused on tasks including changing diapers, taking the child to doctor appointments and giving baths, while men on paid leave often attempt to advance their careers by doing research or writing papers.

The study in the January issue of the Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology was reported by a Wall Street Journal blog.

The reason for the differences? Researches conclude women enjoy doing child care work more than men.

The authors say only 12 percent of men currently use their post-birth leave option. But they conclude if more men utilize it, the workplace playing field could tilt more toward men.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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