With Father’s Day approaching on June 19 and 93.5% of married dads working last year compared to 69.3% of married moms, the new report on 2022’s Best & Worst States for Working Dads, offers interesting stats.
To help dads balance their dual role as parent and provider, WalletHub compared the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia across 23 key indicators of friendliness toward working dads. The data set ranges from the average length of the work day for males to child-care costs to the share of men in good or better health.
Life as a Working Dad in California (1=Best; 25=Avg.):
- 1st – Male Life Expectancy
- 40th – % of Kids Younger than 18 with Dad Present Living in Poverty
- 1st – Unemployment Rate for Dads with Kids Younger than 18
- 22nd – Male Uninsured Rate
- 1st – Avg. Length of Work Day (in Hours) for Males
- 22nd – % of Physically Active Men
- 47th – Child-Care Costs (Adjusted for Median Family* Income)
- 49th – Day-Care Quality
*Refers to families with kids aged 0 to 17 and in which the father is present
What are the biggest issues facing working dads today?
“Many families now have two working parents who are both trying to be reliable and competent employees as well as loving and engaged parents. Many working dads are struggling to find a successful work-life balance, especially during the pandemic and its ever-changing landscape. In addition, working dads have had to be more flexible, adaptable, and resilient in the past two years than ever before. Many of them have had to adapt to changing work environments and take on additional responsibilities at home,” said
Kate Gawlik, DNP, RN, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, associate professor & director of Undergraduate Health and Wellness Academic Programming, Ohio State University.
“Many men understand that to maximize their earnings, they will have to put in very long work hours that separate them from their family members and make it very hard to participate equitably in raising a family with their partners. So, guilt all around, not to mention a potentially unhappy spouse/partner. Mothers have known forever that they would be punished at work for having children they wanted to spend time with, it is nothing particularly new for them; now fathers are being forced to reckon with that as well, and it is quite uncomfortable to face this choice,” said Jennifer Glass, Ph.D., professor & executive director, Council on Contemporary Families, the University of Texas at Austin.
How can young fathers strike the right balance between career and family?
“Decades of research have shown that women’s employment and wages take hits when they become mothers, whereas fathers are expected to devote themselves even more to work after having children. Fathers must be on the front lines of challenging these workplace practices. We must push back against employers who do not offer parental leave. We need to stop answering e-mails after working hours, even if our boss expects it. We need to be the ones that stay home with sick kids, chaperone school field trips, and show up at work late and leave early because we are doing school pick-up and drop-off. Just like working mothers have done for decades, working fathers can do more (or just as much) at their job in less time so that they can be there for their kids,” said
William “Buddy” Scarborough, Ph.D., assistant professor, University of North Texas.
“The workplace environment and culture have a big impact on everyone’s ability to balance career and family. In the current job market, which has a high demand for talent, I advise parents to consider their options. If their current workplace is not conducive to the work-life balance they are looking for – then hit the job market! But, make sure that you do your research when you are interviewing for a new job – does the organization seem family-friendly? Does it have policies and norms that seem helpful for balancing work and family? Is there flexibility when it comes to working from home versus remotely? How do the parental leave policies and PTO policies look? If you can, talk to current employees – especially those with kids – to get a realistic preview of the work-life norms of that company,” said Samantha Paustian-Underdahl, Ph.D., associate professor, Florida State University.
With so many fathers working from home during the pandemic, what will be the impact on their role in caring for children and housework?
“From my research, fathers working from home substantially increased their time spent on supervisory parenting (i.e., watching kids while doing something else such as working) and on educating their children compared to that pre-pandemic. They also increased time spent on housework to a small extent. These findings suggest that fathers working from home need to multitask more compared to pre-pandemic,” said Emma Xiaolu Zang, Ph.D., assistant professor, at Yale University.
“The shift to remote work during the pandemic has offered fathers an unprecedented opportunity to take on a greater share of childcare and housework at home…Research shows that, at least in the early days of the pandemic, fathers did increase their contributions to housework and childcare. Among two-parent families, fathers were most likely to increase their housework and childcare time if their spouse was also working from home. Where fathers were the only parent working from home, they were less likely to take on greater domestic responsibilities, which highlights how persistent gender roles in the household can be. It remains to be seen whether fathers’ greater involvement in childcare and housework during the pandemic will constitute a long-lasting change. This will depend, in part, on how workplace policies and norms develop. Where remote and flexible work remains widely available and highly utilized options for employees, I think there is a great possibility for a more gender-equal division of housework and childcare at home,” said Allison Dunatchik, Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania.