Less help for mother

The Equal opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency says that “One in 6 women reported feeling rushed in 1974.   Seven out of 8 felt life had become more frantic in 1997.”  Here’s another reason why…

An American study, published in late 2006, reveals that women today have much less help with childrearing and household chores than in generations past.

Analysing US Census data from 1880 to 2000, researchers Susan E. Short and Frances K. Goldscheider and Berna M. Torr  examined who lived in the homes of mothers with children five years old or younger.

In the late 19th century, nearly 50 percent of mothers with young children lived with another female who might help carry the load. By the end of the 20th century, the figure was down to about 20 percent.
By looking at the data another way, the researchers found an even more dramatic shift—the actual availability of any females who might live in a house.

In 1880, 24 percent of mothers lived with a female age 10 or older who was not attending school or employed outside the home and was, at least in theory, available to help. By 2000, that number was 5 percent.

This work is particularly interesting, as research on changes in women’s parenting has focused primarily on their increased likelihood of combining parenthood with paid employment, exploring the pressures that result from this “second shift” or “double burden.”

Less Help for Mother focuses instead on the likely reduction in the help that mothers of small children have received as declines both in fertility and the coresidence of nonnuclear adults have reduced the number of other women in the household.


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