Project News

Webinar with the Women’s Budget Group – September 2022

The findings of the ‘Caregiving dads, breadwinning mums: Transforming gender in work and childcare’ project will be launched at a lunchtime webinar on Tuesday 13th September.

This will be a discussion with Mother Pukka and the Fatherhood Institute about how parental leave policies unevenly distribute childcare responsibilities and what this means for parents.

You can find out more and join the webinar here.

Download the full report here.


Modern parents want to do things differently, but parental leave policies make it hard to share care, our study finds.

Caregiving dads, breadwinning mums: Transforming gender in work and childcare, a major mixed-methods study funded by the Nuffield Foundation, compared couples in which childcare responsibilities are shared equally, or assumed primarily by the father, with more traditional arrangements.   

Drawing on survey data from a nationally representative sample of British parents, as well as in-depth interviews with couples with young children, the study found that: 

  • Both fathers and mothers in all the parenting arrangements researched want to spend time with their children and be closely involved in their lives.  
  • Most couples feel forced to identify a main carer with reduced involvement in paid work, and a main breadwinner with reduced involvement in childcare.   
  • Couples who shared care and paid work equally had higher levels of satisfaction (with mothers in these arrangements particularly satisfied).  
  • Mothers in traditional arrangements reported lower wellbeing, relationship quality and self-esteem.  
  • Both men and women who were the main breadwinners tended more than others to feel they had been forced into their role. 


The study was conducted by Prof Ruth Gaunt, Dr Ana Jordan, Prof Anna Tarrant, Nicola Chanamuto, Dr Mariana Pinho, University of Lincoln (UK), Dr Agata Wezyk, Bournemouth University (UK) and funded by the Nuffield Foundation.  

It will be launched at a public seminar, hosted by the Women’s Budget Group on 13th September. Find out more and join the webinar here 

Professor Ruth Gaunt from the research team said: 

“Current parenting leave policies restrict couples’ choices and steer them into a traditional division of family roles despite their beliefs, preferences, and parenting arrangements. Parents want to see more part time and flexible working and leave policies and childcare that enable both parents to return to work after parenting leave.” 

Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director of the Women’s Budget Group said: 

“We know that modern parents want to do things differently, sharing responsibility for care and earning more equally with their partners. This study shows that too many feel pushed into a split between breadwinner or carer by out of date leave policies, lack of flexible work and inadequate childcare.”  

Unpaid care is at the heart of women’s economic inequality. Women do 60% more unpaid care than men, meaning they have less time for paid work, so they earn less, own less and are more likely to be poor.  We can change this through leave policies, flexible work and childcare that reflect parents’ wishes and would be better for children.  

You can find out more and join the webinar here.

Download the full report here.


Interviews with parents – August 2021

We have now completed the interviews and would like to thank all of our participants for their valuable contribution. It was great to meet (online – due to the pandemic) mothers and fathers, hear their stories and find out how they have shared parenting and working responsibilities throughout their lives.

We have learned a lot already! Also, we are very happy to have received positive feedback from the participants who found the interviews enjoyable and thought-provoking. We have gathered lots of fascinating data and we are doing the analysis now, so watch this space for the news on our findings!

We are back and recruiting for our interview study – January 2021

We are now ready to continue the project and are keen to learn more about your experiences. Currently, we are looking for couples willing to take part in online interviews and talk about their everyday life.

Are you a parent of a child below 11 years old?
Was your youngest child born in the UK?
Do you live with your partner in the UK?

If you answered ‘yes’ to all these questions and would like to participate in or project, please go to our ‘Call for Participants‘ tab to take part. We would also be grateful if you could send this to any friends/family that you think might be interested in taking part too.

Temporary Closure of Data Collection – March 2020

Thank you to everyone who has participated in our research so far – we have had a huge response! We have decided to temporarily close the survey given the current disruption for many to work and childcare arrangements. We will reopen the survey at a later date and will make an announcement when it is up and running again. Thanks again and look after yourselves.

Our Survey Has Been Finalised – January 2020

We are officially ready to start advertising our survey, recruiting participants and collecting data. Please go to our ‘Call for Participants‘ tab to take part and we encourage you to send this to any friends/family that you think might be interested in taking part too.

We Have Ethical Clearance – January 2020

We received ethical clearance from our Ethics Committee. Some final checks to our online survey and we will then be ready to start talking to parents about how they organise work and childcare. Needless to say, the team are keen to start collecting figures and stories!

Our First Advisory Board Meeting – October 2019

We met with our Advisory Board which includes a representative from the Nuffield Foundation and a range of subject-matter experts in the field of families. It was a great opportunity for the project team to share and receive feedback on our aims/objectives and research method tools. We had some fantastic discussions all of which have fed into our final design, ensuring our work is of an excellent standard. We are excited to start speaking to parents and distribute our survey!