This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.
Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index
BBC Learning English Launch BBC Media Player
  • Help
  • Text only
You are in: Learning English > News English > Words in the News
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

disturbing, uncomfortable

working week
period from Monday to Friday

place where something is defended against change

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

agree with and strengthen

ferrying children to and from
taking children to and from


hard and boring work

in fairness to
to be fair to, in defence of

equivalents, here - men

To take away:
Lesson planDownload or print (36 K)
Latest stories
27 May, 2011
Destruction of smallpox virus delayed
25 May, 2011
Micro-finance 'misused and abused'
20 May, 2011
Lonely planets
18 May, 2011
Germany to invest in more electric cars
16 May, 2011
Argentina builds a tower of books
Other Stories