Division of paid work, care and household tasks between fathers and mothers in times of COVID-19

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The corona crisis has a major effect on the work and home situation of Dutch families with children. On average, more changed for mothers than for fathers. Mothers have less time off, experience more work pressure and still take on more household and care tasks. This becomes evident by research of sociologist Mara Yerkes and economist Chantal Remery (Utrecht University), that they conduct together with researchers from the University of Amsterdam and Radboud University.

Since the corona crisis, fathers have taken on more household and care tasks. More than a fifth (22%) of the fathers took care of the children more than before. Despite this increase mothers still continue to do the majority of the care and household tasks. 

Work-life balance

The impact on working parents is big. They experience more work pressure (35%), have less time off (48%) and are more likely to disagree about the care for the children (51%). In general parents feel like their work-life balance is worse than before the pandemic. 

Increase in workload

The impact on mothers is even greater. Women experience an increase in workload and have less time off than their male partners. The workload is highest in families where all parents work in a crucial profession. However, the pandemic doesn't have the same effect on all families. Some parents do not experience an increase in workload or an increase in disagreement with their partner.

Throughout the corona crisis, the research team publishes policy papers with the most recent findings (in Dutch):

April 2020

June 2020

March 2021


See also:

Mara Yerkes in De Volkskrant (March 2021) (in Dutch)

Mara Yerkes in De Volkskrant (November 2020) (in Dutch)

Mara Yerkes in NRC (March 2021) (in Dutch)

Mara Yerkes in NRC (November 2020) (in Dutch)

Mara Yerkes in NRC (May 2020) (in Dutch)

Mara Yerkes and Chantal Remery in The Conversation (December 2020)


Involved researchers:

Mara Yerkes

Chantal Remery