What does inequality in the home look like and can it ever be overcome?

http://www.memes.com/img/84693

I’ve seen this flowchart meme a lot on the internet lately. The chart shows a few examples of all the things that a child might ask their mom for vs. what they ask their dad for. It basically implies that anything a child needs is expected to come from their mother, while the only thing they ask their dads for at home is where the mother is.

This got me thinking about what inequality looks like at home. Here, a mother is expected to attend to everything her child needs, essentially bearing the full load of childcare, while the father is not asked for anything. Not only is this a huge burden on the mother, it is also insulting to the father because it implies that he is incapable of doing anything for his children at home. As disproportionate as this image may seem, Belkin’s article actually supports this claim as research shows that “the wife-to-husband ratio for child care in the United States is close to five to one.” It seems that the only way to combat this inequality is to push for a way for men to be more involved in child care from the time of their child’s birth, possibly by adopting a policy similar to that in Sweden. There men are required to take 2 months of paid parental leave after their child in born, thereby increasing the equality at home, as both spouses aid in child care. Yet even there, where laws provide equal time for mothers and fathers for parental leave, “Swedish mothers still take more time off with children—almost four times as much.”

If equality at home depends mainly upon child care, as it is the most demanding task of keeping a home, then is it really achievable? In my opinion, there will always be one spouse who does more but in a truly equal household it will be hard to guess which spouse that is.

References:

Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share It All”” NYTimes. The New York Times, 15 June 2008. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.
Bennhold, Katrin. “In Sweden, Men Can Have It All.” NYTimes. The New York Times, 9 June 2010. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.
“Dad, Where’s Mom Flowchart”” Memes.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.
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