Emeritus Prof. Michael Bittman: Gendered Division of Housework | On the House #11

In this episode, host Gabriella Joustra is joined by Michael Bittman, an Emeritus Professor in Sociology at the University of New England.

Do you notice how you typically seek cooking advice from your mom and car repair tips from your dad? This stems from the “Gendered division of housework,” a societal belief explored by Emeritus Professor Michael Bittman with far-reaching impacts.

Meet Emeritus Prof. Michael Bittman

Michael Bittman is an Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of New England. He was the President of IATUR from 2005 to 2013 and is recognized as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.

His research covers various topics, including how work is divided between genders at home, how families balance work and personal life, and even the use of technology in our daily lives. Recently, he contributed to a training manual for the United Nations and is part of a team looking into changes in how we organize our meals socially.

About the episode

In the podcast hosted by Gabriella Joustra, Professor Bittman explores the idea of gender-based division in household tasks. He discusses how these stereotypes push men and women into specific roles, impacting their mental well-being and careers. To address this, he suggests involving men more in parenting and changing how we think about fatherhood. He emphasizes that fathers being active in their children’s lives can have a positive effect.

Bittman points out that despite changing attitudes, obstacles still prevent men from taking on larger roles in childcare. These include a lack of adequate parental leave policies and societal pressures. He also discusses how this division of labor affects both on-site and remote work and how both genders can adapt to manage household tasks, especially with the rise of remote work. This calls for effective time management, a healthy lifestyle, and partner cooperation.

In conclusion

Women are expected to do household chores, while men are expected to do more mechanical tasks. This stereotype is usually called the gendered division of housework. The situation affects both genders’ well-being and careers, and there needs to be some adjustment, especially for those who work remotely.

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