Gene Expression

Women with children work less

Sheril has a post up, On Sacrificing Reproductive Fitness For Career Advancement…, which makes a common sense point:

Angier references a recent survey of 160,000 Ph.D. recipients that found 70 percent of male tenured professors were married with children while only 44 percent of their female counterparts were. Further, twelve years or more after receiving doctorates, tenured women were more than “twice as likely as tenured men to be single and significantly more likely to be divorced.” Another California study reported nearly double the number of female faculty agree with the statement, “I had fewer children than I wanted,” compared to men. Angier sums it up:

I decided to check the mean number of hours worked last week against the number of children an individual had, and break that down by sex. Below the fold are the results.

i-9703760aae9b2de393217a989dcc809d-malefemalehoursworked.jpg

As you can see, the more children women have, the fewer hours they worked last week (on average). Women are primary care givers, no surprise. On the other hand, you can see a different trend for males. I suspect that reflects the reality that losers can’t find mates.

Comments

  1. #1 Chris Clarke
    January 23, 2009

    You’re defining “work” how?

  2. #2 razib
    January 23, 2009

    for those interested, look up “HRS1″ on the GSS website:
    http://sda.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/hsda?harcsda+gss06

  3. #3 Michael
    January 23, 2009

    Doesn’t focusing on “Engineering and Science” PhDs necessarily skew the results to a less motherly group of women?

  4. #4 razib
    January 23, 2009

    doesn’t look like the original research is limited to S & E.

  5. #5 Lab Rat
    January 23, 2009

    Michael what the hell are you talking about? Why would woman doing engineering and science degrees be in any way less motherly?

  6. #6 Kristi
    January 23, 2009

    I can’t help but wonder, does this data report time spent in the lab (or office) or actual time working? If it is time spent in the office, as I suspect, this just perpetuates the culture of narrow minded work systems; i.e. Time at work = productivity. Studies have proven that work environments that promote flexibility are more productive. One thing these surveys never can seem to illustrate is that Scientists work all the time. You don’t just think about science from 9-5. Some of the best ideas come at 3AM or while folding laundry, cooking, and taking care of other household tasks. Other studies have shown that women are better than men at multitasking. How is this handled in the above calculations? Representing data the way it has been here is part of the problem. Rather than divide the sexes and insinuate that one side is more or less than the other, a much more productive use of time would be to create systems and promote approaches that allow people to be highly functional in all their tasks. Lets all take a larger view.

  7. #7 bgc
    January 23, 2009

    When I reviewed this area –

    http://www.hedonistic.org/bgcharlton/psychological-neoteny.html -

    my impression was that it is mainstream belief that when they have children men work harder and women work less – I have also read this in Kingsley Browne’s work and in Why men Earn More by Warren Farrell. There are plausible evolutionary reasons why this would be the tendency.

  8. #8 bioIgnoramus
    January 23, 2009

    I’m surprised by how low the numbers are. It’s hard to keep a research career going without a regular 50 hour week, and occasional 70 hour weeks. Or so I should have thought. Perhaps I’m overlooking a bit of slacking in vacations.

  9. #9 Walker
    January 23, 2009

    I am confused. Where is the data for this graph coming from? The “last” in last week makes it sound like you collected the data yourself. But you have a plot (without error bars) of people with seven children. Is this from the study cited, or your own personal interviews.

  10. #10 razib
    January 23, 2009

    I am confused. Where is the data for this graph coming from? The “last” in last week makes it sound like you collected the data yourself. But you have a plot (without error bars) of people with seven children. Is this from the study cited, or your own personal interviews.

    READ THE FUCKING COMMENTS!!!:

    for those interested, look up “HRS1″ on the GSS website:
    http://sda.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/hsda?harcsda+gss06

  11. #11 DarwinCatholic
    January 23, 2009

    Dude, I do not seem to be getting the hour-per-week relief I should have after fathering a fourth kid.

  12. #12 ziel
    January 23, 2009

    Women also work less when their husbands have good jobs.

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