|Same-sex parents more egalitarian|
A new survey has shown that when it comes to dividing household tasks and parenting responsibilities, same-sex partners are more egalitarian than heterosexual parents.
Where lesbian couples are concerned, the mother who carries the baby and breastfeeds it, is not assumed to be the parent who will stay at home or be the main nurturer.
The study, Work, Love and Play, compared the experience of 317 same-sex parents, including 27 men, and 958 heterosexual parents, and it challenged the notion that biology is destiny.
"It is not uncommon for the biological capacity of mothers - childbearing, breastfeeding, nurturing - to be used as the rationale for women's more limited participation in the workforce and their primary role as homemaker," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Jennifer Power, of La Trobe University, a co-author, as saying.
But among lesbian couples, generally both women take on a mothering role, regardless of who gave birth, and both tend to take on the work role. In other cases, the women changed roles over time.
The study found that compared with heterosexual parents, both same-sex parents are much more likely to be working part time.
Only 6 per cent of Australian couples with children under the age of 15 have neither parent working full time, compared with 23 per cent of lesbian couples.
The study found that perhaps because of the extraordinary effort gay people must go to, to have children, spending time with them is a big priority for both parents.
As a result, both partners tend to take responsibility for generating income and for all household tasks.
The findings have been published in The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy .