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 BOSTON, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Like reports of Mark Twain's death, the commonly held belief that men's roles at home and work have changed dramatically in recent years is greatly exaggerated, according to research conducted at 15 major corporations by a leading national consulting firm.
 Data collected on more than 60,000 employees demonstrate that an "enormous gulf still exists between the lives of working men and women," says Charles Rodgers, a senior official at Work/Family Directions.
 Perhaps most striking, the data shows that women spend nearly twice the number of hours per week on child care and household tasks as their husbands -- even when both hold full-time jobs outside the home.
 The average working mother spends 44 hours at work and 31 hours on family responsibilities per week. This compares to 47 hours her spouse spends on the job and 15 he devotes to child care and household tasks, according to the research findings which were released today.
 "If you ask people if they spend an equal amount of time on child care responsibilities most couples say they split the time evenly, but once they count the actual hours they each devote to work and family tasks they are often shocked by the dramatic differences," says Rodgers.
 The study indicates that men and women tend to share responsibilities during the early years in their relationships but once children come into the picture the situation quickly changes and the division of responsibilites shifts to where the wife spends considerably more time with the children, he says.
 The studies also point out that the family situations of men and women are strikingly different, with most successful men still in a family where there is a wife at home to manage family and household tasks, Rodgers notes.
 "For example, among professional and executive men with young children, nearly two-thirds have wives at home. Virtually no professional women have a similar situation," he says.
 "In contrast to the popular perception that men are taking on greatly increased roles in the family, women continue to bear an unequal burden when it comes to household and child care responsibilities," says Rodgers, head of Work/Family Directions' research arm.
 "Men are feeling the conflicts between their careers and their families more than ever, but their behavior has not yet changed appreciably."
 Rodgers says that men "remain far less likely to resolve work and family conflicts by trading off their jobs for more time at home, and are more insulated from the difficulties in balancing work and family."
 These time constraint differences explain why flexibility and greater control over working hours are so important to women who want to be successful, he says.
 Without such flexibility, Rodgers says, it is unlikely that many women with children will be able to break through the glass ceiling at work.
 "Working women simply can't compete on a level playing field with men at the workplace when a key requirement is physical presence for longer and longer hours.
 "And it is especially frustrating since this value on time at the workplace may be completely unrelated to the amount of work that is actually accomplished," he points out.
 Rodgers says that the study findings help to understand the nature of the obstacles that work against employees with significant family responsibilities.
 "Until there is greater recognition of how these obstacles work against employees contributing under the current rules, there will continue to be unnecessary losses in productivity and in the ability of many talented men and women to reach the high levels of success to which they aspire."
 The Work/Family Directions research -- believed to be the most comprehensive series of studies on the family responsibilities of women and men in the workplace -- includes survey data on more than 60,000 interviews at 15 major corporations from 1986 to 1991.
 Work/Family Directions is a Boston-based national consulting firm specializing in changing demographics and work and family issues.
 -0- 12/10/91
 /CONTACT: Barry Wanger or Roberta Shaw of Wanger Associates, 617-965-6469/ CO: Work/Family Directions ST: Massachusetts IN: SU:

SH-DD -- NE013 -- 1047 12/10/91 13:36 EST
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Date:Dec 10, 1991

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