February 7, 2024 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

A new study, co-authored by Dr. Adian McFarlane, Associate Professor in the School of Management, Economics, and Mathematics (MEM), will  contribute to the growing body of work on the gender disparities in household responsibilities, and the psychological need for alone time, especially among mothers.

Dr. McFarlane joined Dr. Tom Buchanan, Professor of Sociology at Calgary’s Mount Royal University (MRU), and Dr. Anupam Das, an MRU economist, on “Gender Differences in Desired Alone Time among Canadian Parents of Young Children.”

In examining how parenting and household responsibilities impact the desire for alone time among Canadian parents, the researchers found that mothers have a higher desire for alone time than fathers. Over half of mothers reported a desire for more alone time, while about one-third of fathers said the same. This is attributed to greater involvement by mothers in parenting and household tasks.

Dr. McFarlane says that the results of the study “point to a deeper societal issue where women, even in a relatively egalitarian country like Canada, bear the brunt of household and parenting responsibilities. This affects their time for personal leisure and relaxation and indicates a broader issue of gender inequality in domestic labour. The study suggests that addressing these disparities is crucial for the well-being of parents and calls for a more equitable distribution of household and parenting responsibilities.”

The researchers used Statistics Canada's Time Use Survey data to analyze gender differences in desired alone time and how these differences are impacted by the gender gap in time spent parenting for Canadian mothers and fathers. Dr. McFarlane says that all three authors were actively engaged in the study. His primary role was to generate the statistical results and write the data and methodology. He also reviewed, proofread and edited drafts of the manuscript.

This particular research is part of a larger, ongoing, collaborative project between the three researchers. “Over the past decade, we have investigated the gender disparities in the allocation of time with respect to time spent on parenting across different dimensions, such as self-reported workaholic status, work-life balance, educational attainment, and income,” Dr. McFarlane explains.

Dr. McFarlane says that King’s University College, as a Catholic university, has a tradition that values social justice and human dignity. “This tradition encouraged me not only to examine the statistical and societal aspects of gender inequity but also to consider the moral imperatives for addressing these issues,” he says.

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