When will men recognise the value of the Daddy Bonus?

Women continue to assume a higher level of child care responsibilities and men tend to stick with meeting cultural gender expectations of playing the higher status role as “provider.”  But, not only that,  simply by becoming a father gives new dads an extra default boost, the daddy bonus.


Research shows that only a very small percentages of men are taking the option of parental leave  introduced last year in the UK.  There is a real fear that instead of achieving the gender balance for which it was intended, that if men take career breaks they also will be consigned to the same lower place in a career structure as women. Reduced to basics,  it appears that if men assume a greater child caring role,  they will experience the loss of their valuable daddy bonus.

Read: Children a corporate inconvenience

Childcare options

A significant percentage of women  become entrepreneurs or seek flexible or part-time work to allow them to meet their responsibilities as mothers.  Whichever path they chose there are down sides. Flexibility has long-term financial  downsides and many female entrepreneurs actually end up working long hours for less money showing a reduction of 32%.

The Fawcett Society  research suggests from findings from a poll of 8,000 people, entitled ‘Parents, work and care: Striking the Balance’ that when a woman has a baby, 46% believe she will become less committed to her job, compared to just 11% believing a man becomes less committed.  In stark contrast 29% of people believe dads become more committed compared to just 8% for a woman. This drives inequality and forces women and men into traditional male breadwinner, female carer roles.

The survey,  by Survation, indicates many dads want a higher level of involvement, but 75% of men take a mere 2 weeks or parenting after the birth of their child and 33%  of dads only take only 1-5 days. 41%  indicated they did not get enough leave.

Read: How to avoid a chore war

The poll found that being able to honour family commitments is an important criteria for career and job selection for 68% of those surveyed. This rises to 72% for fathers and 79% for mothers.

men sharing childcare

Honouring family commitments is an important criteria for career and job selection

Household Responsibilities

But there is still an issue in the split in household responsibilities. Findings suggested that not only there is a difference in actual results of who does what at home, there is a difference in perception. [Tweet “Men think they do more than women think they do!”]

  • For all tasks, 37% of men said that they were equally shared while just 20% of women said the same.
  • 90% of tasks referenced in the poll,  men indicated that the responsibility is their child’s other parent.
  • 28% of men say making sure that children do their homework was mostly their responsibility and 21% said it is mostly the responsibility of their child’s other parent. Women disagree. 60% said making sure children do their homework is mostly their responsibility.
  • Men are least likely to say that organising children’s social activities is their responsibility with only 18% saying they assume responsibility, while only 7% of women said it is the responsibility of their child’s other partner
  • Women are most likely to say children’s laundry is mostly their responsibility. 79% of mothers,  compared to the father. (7%). Only 13% of women say it is equally shared.

Read: How I balance work and fatherhood

What we are seeing as an increase for flexible working from both men and women. One women’s leader commented cynically that men are profiting from women’s campaign to spend more time with their children, but are still not involved in child care in any real way.  They also retain the daddy bonus, simply when they become fathers. If they increase that activity then they lose it. So unless men start to demand recognition and respect for their practical and involved roles as fathers, rather than a notional role as providers, gender balance will continue to be elusive.

Does your company need support to introduce gender balance?  Contact 3Plus

Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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