The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that though an ever-increasing number of American women are working both outside the home and in work-from-home positions, in order to help a partner financially maintain the household, they are still also responsible for the lion’s share of household chores:
Household Activities in 2011
–On an average day, 83 percent of women and 65 percent of men spent some time doing household activities such as housework, cooking, lawn care, or financial and other household management.
–On the days they did household activities, women spent an average of 2.6 hours on such activities, while men spent 2.1 hours.
–On an average day, 19 percent of men did housework — such as cleaning or doing laundry — compared with 48 percent of women. Forty percent of men did food preparation or cleanup, compared with 66 percent of women.
According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, “Women make up the majority (57.5% and 57.2%, respectively) of professional and related occupations and service occupations, the occupations expected to grow most rapidly (16.8% and 13.8%, respectively) from 2008–18.” The NCPE also noted that married women represented the most dramatic increase in the percentage of working women, and even mothers with very young children are now participating in the labor force.
Since this is the case, shouldn’t household chores be more evenly distributed? Admittedly, the number of men participating in “food prep or cleanup” is comparable, but the gap significantly widens when it comes to cleaning. Does this mean men (and women) are still genderizing chores like laundry, mopping, and bathroom scouring?
If you’re in a marital or cohabitating situation, do these numbers accurately represent your experience? Are you working full-time and coming home to do the bulk of the housework? Or have you and your partner worked out a more equitable exchange of household labor? Do you find there’s still a strong “expectation” that a woman in a relationship should take care of home, even as she is contributing to half (or more) of the bills?