What, according to a researcher in a major new study, "contribute[s] to continuing gender inequality in earnings and career advancement"? That working mothers are more than twice as likely as fathers to interrupt sleep for childcare purposes.
Sociologist Sarah Burgard, a researcher at the U-M Institute for Social Research, looked at data from about 20,000 working parents from 2003 to 2007, gathered during the census's American Time Use Survey.
She found that not only are working mothers are two-and-a-half times as likely to interrupt their sleep, but the interruptions last longer, an average of 44 minutes for women versus 30 for men. But overall, women sleep more. (Still, anyone who has had interrupted sleep knows it's not quite the same in terms of next-day productivity.)
The study looked at a cross section of ages but found that women in their twenties and thirties, "prime childbearing and childrearing years" saw the biggest gender gap in interruptions. This was true regardless of which spouse made more money, worked full time, or the overall demographic picture of the couple.
Of course, that's also when, in most conventional career tracks, workplace productivity is key to climbing the ladder. The only thing that's going to change that impediment to women is more fathers doing their part.
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