Men, women face different standards in work-related parenting requests

Want to work flex time to take care of your kids? The impression that creates in your office depends on whether you're a man or a wom...


Want to work flex time to take care of your kids? The impression that creates in your office depends on whether you're a man or a woman, a study found.

First, the good news: Men who ask for flexible work arrangements to care for their children are “very likely” to have their requests granted.

As a bonus, these family-minded men are thought of as all-around admirable chaps.

The not-so-good news: Women who ask for the same flexibility are significantly less likely to have their requests granted and are thought of as uncommitted to their jobs.



A study by Furman University sociology Prof. Christin Munsch revealed that our cultural biases often don’t follow with our workplace policies.

She asked 646 participants, ranging in age from 18 to 65, to read a transcript of a conversation between an employee and a human resource manager in which the employee asks to work from home two days a week or come in early and leave early three days a week.

Participants were then asked whether they would grant the requests and how likable, committed, dependable and dedicated they found the employee to be.

When the request came from a male employee, 69.7 percent of participants of both genders said they would grant his request, and 24.3 percent deemed the employee “extremely likable.”

When the request came from a female employee, 56.7 percent of participants would grant her request and a measly 3 percent called her “extremely likable.”

Fifteen percent of participants described women seeking flexibility as “not at all” or “not very” committed to their jobs, but only 2.7 percent of participants said the same of a male employee who asked for a flexible schedule.

“These results demonstrate how cultural notions of parenting influence perceptions of people who request flexible work,” Munsch writes in the study, which she presented to the American Sociological Association.

“We think of women’s responsibilities as including paid labor and domestic obligations, but we still regard breadwinning as men’s primary responsibility and we feel grateful if men contribute in the realm of child care or to other household tasks.”


  • Article by: HEIDI STEVENS , Chicago Tribune 

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