today in ugh

Dads More Likely to Take Parental Leave for Their Strapping Baby Boys

A man and his mini-me.
A man and his mini-me. Photo: Monashee Alonso/Getty Images

Today in ugh: A new report says dads are more likely to take parental leave when their child is in their image — that is, a boy.

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, compared rates of California parents who took leave before and after a 2004 paid-leave law was passed. While the law was beneficial overall, with twice as many moms and 46 percent more dads taking time off after a baby’s arrival, it appears that men couldn’t be bothered if the child was a girl.

A full 50 percent more fathers of sons took time off compared to fathers of daughters. And among couples where both parents worked, fathers of girls “do not respond to the policy at all.” (Silver lining: Men who work with a high percentage of women are more likely to take leave, possibly because it’s more socially acceptable.)

The researchers’ theory on the gender gap is a giant bummer: “First, it may be that fathers get more utility from spending time with their sons than daughters. Second, it may be that the parents perceive that paternal time spent caring for boys is relatively more productive than time spent caring for girls.” So much for daddy’s little girl.

Dads Likelier to Take Parental Leave for Sons