Taylor Orth

Department of Sociology

Where are the Men in Childcare? Gender Essentialism, Care Work, and the Stalled Gender Revolution


Men’s participation in paid and unpaid childcare lags significantly behind that of women. Less than 5% of paid childcare workers are men and fathers spend half as much time on childcare duties as mothers (CPS 2015; Bianchi et al. 2006). Understanding why this gap exists is vital to addressing other inequalities rooted in the unequal division of care work, such as the motherhood wage penalty (Correll et al. 2007) as well as the care work wage penalty (England et al. 2002). Men’s unequal representation in childcare is the result of both supply and demand side processes. In this project, I examine the gender gap from both of these angles. First, I examine the demand for male childcare workers by testing whether or not male workers face a hiring bias within the childcare industry. Second, I analyze the supply of male childcare workers by comparing men and women’s preferences for childcare work relative to other jobs with comparable pay and hours. Taken together, findings from each of these two studies are meant to shed light on why the gender gap in childcare exists as well as potential approaches to reducing this gap.