The proportion of women who are working has changed very little since the recession started. But a full 82 percent of the job losses have befallen men, who are heavily represented in distressed industries like manufacturing and construction. Women tend to be employed in areas like education and health care, which are less sensitive to economic ups and downs, and in jobs that allow more time for child care and other domestic work. (emphasis added)
We often forget that full workplace parity for men and women also includes an equal share of the same risks. As activists continually push for equal salary and benefits compensation between men and women, it follows that women will also be saddled with the same time commitments, corporate responsibilities, and pressures that male employees now shoulder. That will also include an increased probability of being laid off. The law of unintended consequences suddenly rears its ugly head.
On average, employed women devote much more time to child care and housework than employed men do, according to recent data from the government’s American Time Use Survey analyzed by two economists, Alan B. Krueger and Andreas Mueller.
When women are unemployed and looking for a job, the time they spend daily taking care of children nearly doubles. Unemployed men’s child care duties, by contrast, are virtually identical to those of their working counterparts, and they instead spend more time sleeping, watching TV and looking for a job, along with other domestic activities.
Many of the unemployed men interviewed say they have tried to help out with cooking, veterinarian appointments and other chores, but they have not had time to do more because job-hunting consumes their days.
“The main priority is finding a job and putting in the time to do that,” says John Baruch, in Arlington Heights, Ill., who estimates he spends 35 to 45 hours a week looking for work since being laid off in January 2008.
While he has helped care for his wife’s aging parents, the couple still sometimes butt heads over who does things like walking the dog, now that he is out of work. He puts it this way: “As one of the people who runs one of the career centers I’ve been to told me: ‘You’re out of a job, but it’s not your time to paint the house and fix the car. Your job is about finding the next job.’ “
While the article does a poor job contrasting the differences in responsibilities of men in married and single parent households, and completely fails to explain why men who have been laid off “spend more time sleeping and watching TV” (loss of self worth, depression, etc.), it seems clear that women who lose their jobs, especially if they are single mothers, will have far more difficulty finding the time to look for a new job. I’d really like to hear a feminist explain how an increased risk of job loss due to mandated workplace wage equality is somehow contributing to the overall betterment of women.
As the old saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.”