Men Doing Twice As Much Housework \x85

// 20 June 2005

\x85 but then two times nothing is nothing, isn\x92t it?

I jest, of course. But an article on the front page of yesterday\x92s Sunday Times entitled "Hey, Dad, you\x92re an unsung domestic god" rather misleads as to the content of the study on which it reports.

It focuses on a study by Essex University which found that men now do "almost twice as much" housework as they did in the early 1960s (by "almost twice as much", apparently, The Times means "70% more" \x96 the figures they quote are 143 minutes a day as compared with 83).

On closer inspection (and you have to read over the front page into page 2 before this point becomes clear) it is revealed that, whilst men are doing "almost twice as much" domestic labour with the passing of time, women are still doing twice as much as them \x96 their time spent on unpaid work has decreased from 303 minutes daily to 277 ( just 9%). And, as contented in Susan Mauhart\x92s fantastic book, Wifework, men continue to \x91cherry pick\x92 the more interesting, high-recognition-and-reward household tasks, leaving the drudge work to women \x96 the article notes men have tripled the amount of time they spend cooking (from ten to thirty minutes daily), whilst washing and ironing are still female-dominated chores.

Finally, the study shows that whilst women\x92s unpaid work has decreased by 9% this is offset by an increase in paid work. By contrast, the increase in domestic chores undertaken by men is "more than compensated for" by a decrease in office hours.

Progress? But how desperately S-L-O-W.

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