Globe and Mail

The difference between men and women

Alanna Mitchell
The Globe and Mail
Friday, October 15, 1999

One of the most enlightening ways to look at how the family responsibilities of men and women differ is to ask them what they would do first if they did not have children. A recent Angus Reid poll done for The Globe and Mail asked the question of parents who still have children at home.

While the most popular answer among both men and women was the short-term urge to go on a trip (33 per cent of men; 38 per cent of women), when it gets down to more serious stuff, the gender split is wide.

Nine per cent of women said they would go back to school, a nod to the fact that they feel they have given up ground on education and career to have children.

Just a marginal 1 per cent of men said they would go back to school, a sign that most feel they have done what they need to do to succeed even though they had children.

It is the same story when it comes to career.

Just 5 per cent of men said the first thing they would do if they did not have children is work more or concentrate more on their career.

For women, it was a robust 15 per cent who would leap into more work, by far the most popular answer next to going on a trip.

That means 24 per cent of women would instantly either go back to school or concentrate more on their career if they woke up tomorrow without kids. For men, it's just 6 per cent.

Another intriguing way of looking at this is to see that 11 per cent of the men said the first thing they would do is have children. For women, it was just 4 per cent.

And how many men would do nothing different if they were childless? Nine per cent. For women, it's just 3 per cent.


If you did not have children, what is the first thing you would do?

                                             Men   Women

Travel more/go on holiday/take a cruise      33%    38%

Go back to school                             1      9

Work more/concentrate more on career          5     15

More recreational activities like golfing     5      3

Adopt children                                3      2

Renovate house                                1      1

Have children                                11      4

Have more money/spend money                   3      2

Move/leave the country                        3      3

Volunteer/help kids/help others               1      2

Sleep/relax                                   1      2

Other                                         8      5

Nothing                                       9      3

Don't know                                   15     11

The Globe and Mail/Angus Reid

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