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Same job – different work hours

Women often have fewer working hours than men when they have children, and it is often considered to be because they earn less than the man. A new survey shows that the difference persists even in parents, where both the mother and the father have the same, responsible work: physician.

Mothers work less, even if the job is the same.

The study by Anupam B. Jena, M.D., Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School, Boston, and co-authors, estimated weekly hours worked for married, dual-physician couples from 2000 through 2015 using a nationally representative survey of about 3 million households annually. Jena focused on parents at the age of 25 to 50 (the child bearing ages) and on two-sex marriages, since the focus was on gender equality. The average age for women was 38 and 39 for men.

The results showed that, among couples without children, weekly work hours were 57 hours for men and 52.4 hours for women. Compared to couples without children, there was no significant difference in hours worked among men whose youngest child was age 1 to 2 (55.3 hours, a difference of 1.7 hours less) but hours worked among women were significantly lower (41.5 hours, a difference of 10.9 hours less).

“One possible reason for our results is that even within dual-physician couples, societal expectations for women to reduce hours worked to care for children still hold,” the authors conclude.

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