Sharing in Caring: Equations Between the Father and Mother

  • Rajalakshmi SriramEmail author


The focus of this chapter is to move beyond the notion of mother as a primary parent and look at ways in which mothers and fathers engage in parental roles, drawing from in-depth interviews with 15 purposively chosen couples, to represent variations in family type, mothers’ work status and age of children, supplemented with checklist data of 120 couples. The paper further examines fathers’ and mothers’ rationale for sharing of parental roles, drawing concepts of the social relations framework of gender studies (Miller C, Razavi S, Gender analysis: alternative paradigms, gender and development resource room. Retrieved February 3, 2002, from, 1998). The focus is on personal factors and practical considerations that determine parental roles and responsibilities along with their rights and obligations which always are intertwined with social norms and grant differential bargaining powers across situations to individuals. The data is drawn from interviews and responses to vignettes with 45 couples. Parental responses show that the father and mother engage in a relationship of co-operation and exchange to maximise inputs, in the interest of children, indicating a move towards equal co-parenting. However, when these processes are evaluated using Gerson’s (An institutional perspective on generative fathering: creating social supports for parenting equity. In: Hawkins AJ, Dollahite DC (eds) Generative fathering: beyond deficit perspectives. Sage International, New Delhi, pp 17–34, 1997) schemata to understand if there is an equality in sharing of work related to parenting, decision-making and sacrifices, one still sees that the cult of materialism and patriarchal notions are evident in beliefs, though parents are moving towards more equal sharing, as evident in behaviours.


Gender in parenting Father and mother roles Rationale for parental role division Sharing in caring 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesM.S. University of BarodaVadodaraIndia

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