The gender gap and COVID stress

 COVID is taking a toll on Americans’ mental health and women may be taking the brunt of it.

In a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 53% of women said they were feeling the stress from COVID, as compared to 37% of men.

And new research indicates a serious work-life unbalance for some women during the pandemic.

Richard Petts, Ph.D., a sociologist at Ball State University, and his research team surveyed 1,060 U.S. parents living with a partner of the opposite sex. They analyzed changes in the division of labor for household chores and childcare since the pandemic began.

“So, we had this sort of unique opportunity to really understand, okay, what happens when you're forced to be at home? Do men do more, are couples sharing the work more, or is it status quo?” said Petts. “For a subset of women, about a third of women, things have gotten significantly worse.”

According to the survey, 34% of the moms said they were spending more time house cleaning. 43% said they were doing more cooking.

Petts said women are also taking on the majority of helping kids with online learning.

In a number of families, fathers have increased the time they spend helping with homework and 45% of dads reported spending more time taking care of young children.

Petts said there is the potential for COVID-19 restrictions to reshape the gendered division of labor, although he says it remains to be seen whether dads will continue with housework and childcare once shelter-in-place is lifted and most go back to work out of the house

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