If Not Women, Then Who — Should Be There for Housework?

household division

Domesticity is not so blissful for women. Gender is always a traditional or cultural context shaping an individual’s gender beliefs. Even though many studies have proved that housework should be for everyone, such as children and men, there is still an evident gender gap in this matter.

A report in 2021 showed that about 91% of women with children spend at least an hour per day on housework. It is much higher compared to 30% of men with children. Despite gender inequality in household work, people could still learn to divide equally.

In most societies, sex is the basis of the division of labor. In 2018, a study found that men are more involved in traditionally masculine household chores, such as home repairs and family management, and women are more engaged in traditionally feminine tasks like childcare or shopping.

Benefits of Gender-Neutral Housework Divisions

Simply helping women with household tasks not only reduces their mental burden and relieves them from the stress of doing all the house errands. But it also brings a lot of benefits to the other person helping. 

Increased well-being and decreased health risks

In an article, it is mentioned that women who work more than 60 hours per week — combining office and home labor hours — are at a higher risk of developing a variety of chronic diseases. Moreover, the researcher speculates that there may be an unequal division of household labor because the same risks are not shown in men. 

Recently, a study in the USA showed that egalitarian or equal housework divisions are beneficial for the well-being of a couple. Individuals who spend more time on household chores have a greater brain volume which helps the brain become healthier and younger. 

Research indicates that the benefits of doing chores can also extend to relieving stress since stress can compromise all facets of wellness, including our cognitive brain health, which is a major win.

Increased marital satisfaction

According to a survey commissioned by Roborock, 53% of respondents said they consider equal chore responsibilities to be just as essential to the health of their relationship as their sex life. Moreover, 50% said they think not helping with chores is just as bad or even worse than cheating on your partner. Not sharing any of your house tasks could be hurting your relationship.

Today, women progress and are encouraged to get educated to become economically independent, while men are rarely encouraged to do housework. Moreover, justification of women’s traditional role leads to unfair chores, dissatisfying relationships, and eroding marriage partnerships.

How To Establish Fair Housework Division

It is time for men to realize that household work is everyone’s responsibility, and their contribution can go a long way in ensuring marital bliss. More substantial relationship and sexual satisfaction are what couples who share childcare responsibilities experienced than couples where mothers are solely responsible for childcare.

When everyone works together on household chores, it creates a positive atmosphere for the family and sets a good example for the children. Participation in housework helps children become competent in many areas and acquire knowledge and skills useful in classroom activities. The satisfaction achieved gives them self-confidence and a feeling of usefulness and relevance at home and in society. Here are some steps to take toward a fair distribution of responsibilities:

Understand your responsibilities

Sharing housework helps individuals to take responsibility and decreases stress levels. Chores such as cooking or cleaning help couples communicate and understand each other better. A family which experiences shared tasks implies greater engagement and a better understanding of each other’s behavior and communication style. 

Learn about priorities

A Population-Based Study in Lebanon found that many couples look at the division of chores differently. Discuss each other’s feelings about dusting, a clean toilet, an unmade bed and if a comfortable or uncomfortable feeling shows up in a messy house, and compromising needs to be made for each. Striking a balance works best if you select priorities rather than trying to satisfy both sides. Therefore, sharing information to understand how each other feels is crucial.

Stop criticizing your partner on their method of doing chores

There is no right or wrong way to do most household tasks. Criticizing your partner on how they choose to accomplish their chores will only create more unnecessary tension in the household. People are different. When most people commit to a relationship, they necessarily end up disagreeing about many things — doing household chores “just right” is one of them.

In conclusion

The idea of women ditching housework does not please everyone. Modeling shared chores and housework is vital in showing that relationships should and can be equal. A small change by taking responsibility for a task can change the situation and create more equality at home. A lot of other positive things happen as well, and this is the key to reducing gender inequality in housework.

If  you would like to know more about fair division of housework, the Household Management Science Labs produces tons of materials on the subject. Using the research of the Institute for Life Management Science Labs, the lab packages these information into courses, certifications, podcasts, videos, and other resources. Visit the Household Management Science Labs today.

household management science labs

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