Working for the man

Herald Sun (Aust) April 07, 2008

MARRIED women spend seven hours more doing housework than single women, according to a US study. Men are doing more housework than they did 30 years ago and women are doing less, but it seems marriage is the real culprit when it comes to the burden of household chores. The research shows that the number of hours women spend cooking, cleaning, shopping and doing laundry has dropped about 35 per cent, from an average of 26 hours a week in 1976 to 17 hours in 2005. But men’s average housework levels have risen about 54 per cent from six to 13 hours a week over the past three decades.

The study, by the University of Michigan’s Institute of Social Research, based on questionnaires and diaries, found married men and women did more household chores than those who stayed single. “Marriage is no longer a man’s path to less housework,” said study leader Prof Frank Stafford. When these couples had children, the narrowing gap between the partners’ output did an abrupt U-turn back to a more traditional mould. Married women with three or more kids slaved over hot stoves and washing machines for an average 28 hours a week while married men with three kids logged only about 10 hours of housework a week. Housework included core tasks such as cooking and cleaning but excluded gardening, home repairs or washing the car.,21985,23495229-662,00.html