Although it is targeted at men, paternity leave is also thought to improve the lot of women. The rationale is that if both men and women take time away from work to care for their children, it will no longer be mothers who suffer a disproportionate effect in their careers. Paternity leave is also believed to encourage a more balanced distribution of child-raising responsibilities. Steven Rhoads says he was interested in putting these notions to the test among university professors because he thought young men and women in academia “would be the most progressive on gender roles.”
Not quite. As the authors of the paper state: “Most of the academics in our study said they believe that husbands and wives should share equally, but almost none did so.” To be precise, only three men out of 109 reported that they performed half the child-care work.