Prof. Melissa Milkie was recently featured in new article "More Men Helped With Housework During The Early Days Of COVID-19. What Went Wrong?" in the Huffington Post

February 25, 2021 by Jeremy Nichols

Professor Melissa Milkie was featured in an article in the Huffington Post.  More Men Helped With Housework During The Early Days Of COVID-19. What Went Wrong? by Brittany Wong looks at how divisions of labour in the home were initially equalizing during the first wave of the ongoing pandemic but the initial increase in men’s participation and responsibilities within the family were short lived.

Professor Melissa Milkie is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, Mississauga campus (UTM). She is the Chair of the Tri-Campus Graduate Department. Her research focuses on culture, the work-family interface, and mental health.

We've included an excerpt of the article below. Read the full article on the Huffington Post here.

More Men Helped With Housework During The Early Days Of COVID-19. What Went Wrong?

Men stepped up during the first wave, and then backslid. Here's how to reengage them, according to couples therapists.

Article after article tells us that moms across America are utterly exhausted. Some have lost their jobs because of the pandemic, others are trying to balance work and supervising kids doing remote learning. Most are doing it with little to no support.

But men were chipping in when it came to housework and child care tasks ― at least in the first wave of the lockdown, according to a new study.

“Our findings based on data from very early in the pandemic show that if fathers are in the home more and work allows them to be flexible, they are more likely to be able to step up to the kinds of demands that families have,” said Melissa Milkie, the lead author of the study and a sociology professor at the University of Toronto Mississauga.

Milkie and her team conducted the study last May in the midst of the first wave of coronavirus-related lockdowns. Their research took into account the responses of 1,234 male-female couples across Canada with at least one child. (It’s worth noting that Canada offers far more parental support to its citizens.)

Both men and women reported that dads were stepping up. The biggest gains appeared in organizing and planning children’s activities: Before the outbreak, 46% of respondents said this was an equally shared task or that fathers did more than mothers. Afterward, 57% said this was the case.

Respondents reported smaller increases in fathers monitoring kids at school, reading, talking and listening to them, and physical care.

But somewhere along the line, things changed. As your exhausted working mom friends have probably told you, far too many men seem to have stepped back and let their wives again take on the lion’s share of the parenting and household responsibilities.