Who Handles Homeschooling? Answers Don't Sync

Poll shows perception divide between men and women
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2020 8:02 AM CDT
45% of Dads Say They Handle Homeschooling. Moms Disagree
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/chameleonseye)

Perception is everything, and nowhere is that proving to be more true than in a recent poll on how housework and child care are being divvied up during the pandemic. Per the New York Times, the latest Morning Consult poll asked 2,200 Americans in April about these tasks, and when it came to helping kids with their homeschooling or distance learning, 45% of men with children under the age of 12 said they were the ones who did the bulk of it, not their spouse. But that's not how women are seeing it: Only 3% of those polled said their spouse is the main homeschooler, with 80% of women saying they've been assuming most of the teaching duties. The poll also found that while both men and women are having to do more domestic chores overall while in quarantine, "the crisis seems to be cementing traditional gender roles," with women still taking on the lion's share of responsibilities around the house.

The Guardian notes the domestic load for women "just got heavier," while the Atlantic has called the stuck-at-home phenomenon "a disaster for feminism." "Grim as it is to imagine now, further epidemics are inevitable, and the temptation to argue that gender is a side issue, a distraction from the real crisis, must be resisted," Helen Lewis wrote in March, right as lockdowns began. "What we do now will affect the lives of millions of women and girls in future outbreaks." Harper's Bazaar, meanwhile, offers tips for couples struggling to make the currrent workload more equitable. "Couples cope better when they plan ahead," a USC expert on gender roles tells the magazine. "You don't want to be bickering about who is supposed to set the dinner table when you're both hungry and cranky." (More here and here on the at-home burdens.)

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