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Let’s talk about the unpaid work

Virginia Herlihy

Much has been written about the balance of unpaid work, and for heterosexual couples, the data is very clear. Women are still dominating in both the thinking and doing of unpaid domestic work and part-time paid work and men are still dominating in full-time and higher paid roles at work. This leads to tensions and inequality in choices as women can’t step fully into their careers and men can’t step fully into family life – limiting both and exacerbating gender inequality.

What is inequality in who is doing the unpaid work really about?

So, why in 2022 are there still such disparities in this area? Particularly, when nearly all the dads we coach are very open about their desire to be more involved in family life and many women don’t wish to see their careers stalled when they become a parent. The impact of unequal lengths of parental leave is a significant contributory factor. Women still take the bulk of parental leave and by default pick up many of the caring and domestic jobs that go with early parenthood.

In the short video below, I explore how this sizeable job of managing domestic work and childcare often isn’t renegotiated by couples when the person who has taken the longer period of leave, typically a woman, returns to paid work after parental leave and how this entrenches an unequal division of labour as the default setting. The video looks at how you can start to rebalance things by accepting domestic work needs thought and planning like any other project and the practical steps you can take to achieve this.

See more articles and videos about how to rebalance the unpaid work here, explore more resources for working parents here, or watch other videos in this series about overcoming common working parent challenges.

Virginia Herlihy, CEO & Founder, How Do You Do It