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Learning English - Words in the News
 
22 October, 2008 - Published 09:25 GMT
 
Australian men's hobby parenting
 
A father and baby

The old stereotype of the tough Australian male has been reinforced this week. A new study from the University of New South Wales has discovered that on average Australian fathers only spend six minutes with their children from Monday to Friday.

Listen to the story

The report may make unsettling reading for Australian fathers for it discovered that on average they spend just over a minute each day alone with their children during the busy working week. In a country that's sometimes been unfairly viewed as a bastion of male chauvinism the study appeared to reinforce that view.

It found that fathers were more likely to spend time with their children in the park, or at sports events, but rarely participated in feeding, bathing, or ferrying children to and from school.

Mothers in Australia tend to spend three hours each week purely looking after their children, a much greater disparity than other countries like America, Denmark, Italy and France, where couples divide their childcare more evenly.

According to the author of the study, Australian fathers appear to like the fun aspects of parenthood, but shy away from the drudgery. They tend to contribute when they're free, likely to enjoy themselves and therefore tend to look upon childcare as another leisure activity. Australian parenting is seen as a woman's job and a man's hobby.

In fairness to Australian men, they do tend to work longer hours than their counterparts in America, Denmark, Italy and France.

By Nick Bryant, Sydney

Listen to the words

unsettling
disturbing, uncomfortable

working week
period from Monday to Friday

bastion
place where something is defended against change

male chauvinism
the belief of some men that they are better than women

reinforce
agree with and strengthen

ferrying children to and from
taking children to and from

disparity
difference

drudgery
hard and boring work

in fairness to
to be fair to, in defence of

counterparts
equivalents, here - men



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