Housework clause added to Spanish marriages

// 2 July 2006

How did I miss this? Spain has added housework clauses to civil marriage ceremonies which oblige men to do an equal share.

No doubt there will be plenty of people who say this is needless state intervention in domestic life, but, well, I say why not? After all, it’s unlikely that this will be enforced Judge Dredd style, but it will encourage women and men to realise this should be an absolute given in an equal relationship.

Puffing and panting and swearing under his breath, 36-year-old Santi Risco tries to put up an ironing board. He doesn’t have much success and it’s a pretty painful sight watching a previously undomesticated Spanish male trying hard to change with the times.

“Spanish law is changing so men have to do 50% of the housework,” Santi tells me, rather red-faced. “I am getting married this autumn so I am learning things I’ve never done before: ironing, cleaning floors and doing the washing up.

“It’s not that I’m a macho man. It’s just that I’ve never been taught these things before.”

I only read about this new law in an aside in this Guardian brief about another progressive law that rewards businesses that take on female board members. Like all incidents of affirmative action, it will have its critics, but on practical level, if it makes society a bit more equitable, how can it be a bad thing?

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