It’s Time to Close the Housework Gap

It's Good to Be Queen

It’s Good to Be Queen (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)


If having it all means earning a paycheck, taking care of the kids, making dinner and folding the laundry, then American women can claim they’ve got it all.

Data released last week from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual American Time Use Survey shows women do a significant amount more housework and childcare than men do, and the numbers aren’t changing year over year, despite the fact more women are serving as breadwinners.

For those of us who grew up under the feminist influences of the 70s, this double duty wasn’t exactly what we had in mind. We were enamored with television career girls Mary Tyler Moore and Ann Marie from That Girl – but perhaps didn’t realize their glamorous lifestyles might change if they added husbands and children. And when the woman in the Enjoli ad sang she could bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan, we heard we had the option to work or cook, not that we would have to do both.

The housework gap isn’t just a private issue to be sorted out by couples at home. It has larger implications. I’m on The Huffington Post this week talking about how inequities at home contribute to inequities  in the workplace. You can read the post here.We need to focus on closing the chore gap at home so we can close the gender gap at work.

From the American Time Use Survey:

  • On an average day, 82 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 2.0 hours.
  • On an average day, 20 percent of men did housework–such as cleaning or doing laundry–compared with 48 percent of women. Thirty-nine percent of men did food preparation or cleanup, compared with 65 percent of women.







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