Perception differs on dads lockdown role in childcare

New research finds mums and dads have a different perception about who has been doing the childcare since coronavirus hit



Fresh research has shown mums and dads are at odds when it comes to their perception of who does most childcare.

43% of dads say they are now sharing childcare with their partner. But just 20% of mums agree.

Only 18% of men nationwide think women have taken on the bulk of the extra childcare that kicked in when schools and nurseries closed in March. That’s despite research consistently showing it to be the case. Twice as many women agree that it’s they that have shouldered the extra responsibility.

Polling company Ipsos MORI surveyed over 2000 adults for the research.

Half of men (50%) believe that women and men are sharing childcare responsibilities, while just over a third (36%) of women feel this to be the case. Half of mothers say they’ve taken on more childcare in 2020 but only half as many dads say they have done the same.


But attitudes are increasingly unanimous in support for stay-at-home dads. This has gone up since last year. In January 2019, 81% of Britons disagreed that a man who stays home to look after his children is less of a man, this has gone up to 90% now.

Further findings point to the working from home experiment forced upon parents this year having an impact on attitudes towards flexible work.

Since lockdown, there has been a drop in those saying childcare and family responsibilities are more likely to damage a woman’s career than that of a man. In February this year, almost half of the public (47%) said having childcare responsibilities during the day would cause more harm to a woman’s job, this has fallen 11 points to 36%. Prioritising family over work is also now seen to be less damaging to a woman’s career, falling seven points from 36% in February to 29% now. Over a quarter (27%) said working part-time would be more damaging to a woman’s career than a man’s in February, now only 21% say the same.


The research also looked at the impact of parents from childcare settings closing down. Parents surveyed said they have felt more supported by education providers and their employers than they have by the Government. Around half of parents rate the support given by schools and nurseries (53%) and their employers (50%) as good.  However, just three in ten (32%) say that support from the Government has been good, and just over a third (35%) say it has been poor.

 Kully Kaur-Ballagan, Research Director at Ipsos MORI said: “These findings show that while we think childcare is no longer just the preserve of women, it’s still the case that during lockdown mothers are much more likely to feel they are taking on more of the childcare responsibilities than their male partners. 

“In some ways lockdown has had a positive impact on how we view working mothers; fewer people now think taking on childcare responsibilities or working part time will harm a woman’s career than a man’s than in February this year.  However, the disproportionate negative impact it has on women remains.” 

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