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Women Still Do More Chores At Home Than Men, Study Finds

After all this time, we still haven't achieved parity in the home.

09/27/2017 12:53 EDT | Updated 09/27/2017 12:53 EDT
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We hear all the time about the incredible advancements being made by women around the world, in the tech sector, in science, in the workplace, and, just very recently, behind the wheel.

Yes, there is still a lot of progress to be made to achieve parity between men and women, especially for women of colour and Indigenous women, but we have achieved equality in many areas.

But one area where women and men are still not equals hits close to home, quite literally.

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According to a new study published in Springer journal's Sex Roles, heterosexual women of all ages do more chores around the house than their male partners, regardless of either the man's or woman's career or income.

For the study, researchers tracked more than 900 people with partners from adolescence to adulthood and gathered data through a series of questionnaires given to the participants at ages 25, 32, and 43.

In particular, they looked at how domestic tasks were delegated at each of these ages, and how these decisions were influenced by income, marital status, working hours, and childcare.

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"Women consistently perform more housework than men do," lead author Rebecca Horne explained to Springer.

"Patterns of housework responsibility between men and women tend to be quite consistent at each life stage despite minor fluctuations in the volume of housework chores," she added.

Women consistently perform more housework than men do.

Horne explained that the study results also showed that women and the partner with the lowest income were usually the ones doing more household chores when a couple is around 25 years old.

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Among the 32-year-old set, work hours and raising kids (for men only) come into play when distributing housework, and once couples are in their forties, gender becomes the biggest predictor of who will do the chores — spoiler, women do most of them.

"Overall, time, money, and gender variables seem to be important for explaining the division of household labour, albeit to varying intensities depending on stage in the life course," added Horne.

Time, money, and gender variables seem to be important for explaining the division of household labour.

Horne hopes the study will "promote greater gender equality on a societal level and help life partners be more aware of the many factors that shape domestic life.

These results can also be used by policymakers and employers to develop or alter laws, policies, and work environments in ways that promote men's involvement in unpaid labour," reports Springer.

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Horne's research supports the findings of a 2016 study conducted by the U.K.'s Office for National Statistics, which found that women did an average of 60 per cent more unpaid work than men, which includes cooking, childcare, and housework.

It also aligns with new data from Statistics Canada, which found that despite the fact that Canadian men are doing more chores at home than they did in the past, Canadian women are spending an average of 50 per cent more time doing unpaid work than men, showing that the gender imbalance at home is ever present.

Despite the fact that Canadian men are doing more chores at home than they did in the past, Canadian women are spending an average of 50 per cent more time doing unpaid work than men.

As reported by the CBC, in 2015, British Columbia had the smallest gender gap, where women did 36 per cent more unpaid work than men, and the Prairies had the highest, at 52 per cent.

Yes, the stats seem dire for women, but there are ways couples can achieve gender equality at home, starting with both man and woman doing chores that aren't assigned to gender.

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"I wasn't allowed to mow the lawn as a young girl, and I desperately wanted to. (In all honesty, I wanted to do it for the exercise.) My brothers did outside work, and the girls did inside work," wrote Sacha Strebe in My Domaine.

I wasn't allowed to mow the lawn as a young girl, and I desperately wanted to... My brothers did outside work, and the girls did inside work.

"But that's not how it works in our household. My husband does as much of the housework and cooking as I do — in fact, he cooks most nights during the week — and I am expected to change a light bulb, fix broken furniture, and drive the car on long road trips," she continued.

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Explaining how she and her husband achieve equality in the home, she notes that they have open conversations about gender stereotypes and let their son choose his own toys and clothes. But most importantly, they don't allow traditional gender roles in their house.

We don't adhere to conventional stereotypes, so our son doesn't have to either.

"My husband and I respect each other as equals, and setting this standard will only encourage our son to grow up with similar values and apply these ideals to his own relationships one day," she writes. "We don't adhere to conventional stereotypes, so our son doesn't have to either."

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