Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Motherhood Tuesday 3: How To Discuss Gender Roles in Survey Results

That clumsy headline is an attempt to describe what I went through while studying a Pew survey on changes in the numbers of stay-at-home mothers.

But it can also be taken as the basis for a wider meditation about the way our ideas about motherhood and apple pie tend to crowd out the analysis of actual data in studies and surveys about how it is that women do parenting, and how easy it is to forget that mothers, too, are full human beings, who might stay at home to care for young children but who might also stay at home because they cannot get a good job or who might have gone back to school or who might be too sick to look for work and so on.

Although these old posts of mine about another Pew survey (in 2005!) are not about parenting, they describe somewhat similar problems of focus and magnification in survey results.