Gender inequality is still a major issue when it comes to who does the chores at home, a new report has revealed. Even when a woman has just had a baby or is juggling work and family commitments at the same time, she will still typically do significantly more housework than her male partner. This was even found to be the case when the man had more free time, the study carried out by researchers from Ohio State University in the US found.
How much housework do both men and women do?
The study concentrated on how much housework both men and women did in the first three months after the birth of their first child, analysing their activities minute by minute – the first piece of research to take this approach. At times when one partner took charge of the baby, leaving the other to enjoy some ‘me time’, it was found that women spent an average of 46 to 49 minutes relaxing while their partner did chores. In contrast, when men were given time to themselves, they spent 101 minutes chilling out while their female partners did the housework, highlighting a significant gender disparity when it comes to domestic tasks.
But is this because men are simply more efficient and can complete the cleaning quicker? Is it because women believe they will conform to unfair ‘useless’ stereotypes so want to spend more time on chores themselves? Or is there an underlying problem surrounding outdated gender expectations?
How is this disparity affecting households?
Commenting on the findings of the research, lead author Claire Kamp Dush stated: “It’s frustrating. Household tasks and childcare are still not being shared equally, even among couples who we expected would have more egalitarian views of how to share parenting duties.” However, she acknowledged that further studies are needed to look at this issue in more depth, as every household’s circumstances and reasons for chore inequality will be different. In some homes, work commitments or other factors will simply make more sense for the woman to do the majority of the cleaning, cooking and childcare, but in some, it will not and there could be resentment building. “It is a small sample,” Ms Kamp Dush added. “It is not the definitive answer and is mostly relevant to similar couples. But we need to look into this further and understand how dual-earner couples are sharing housework and childcare.”
Ms Kamp Dush suggests that couples have a discussion early on about how they are going to split chores once their baby arrives to prevent these issues from arising in the first place. However, in households where chore inequality continues to be an issue, hiring a professional cleaning company could help to shelve this resentment. Asking for help from a cleaner as a baby shower gift or after a new arrival has been born could also be a good idea to prevent arguments in those first few months with a newborn, allowing everyone time to get settled.
Contact the FK Domestics team today to find out more about our household cleaning services.