The title of this article may have annoyed a lot of people. Some may think “having or not having a husband is NOT a direct cause” for a woman to have more, or less, responsibilities at home.
We’re simply talking about the inequalities that continue to exist in a lot of homes. This is something that the University of Michigan wanted to analyze in a study.
The results were very clear and conclusive: today, women still continue to be responsible for a large part of domestic chores.
Obviously, and we need to make this very clear, we can’t generalize.
We all know of households where it is exactly the opposite, and the men take care of nearly everything. There are also couples out there that have a near perfect and equitable distribution of each family chore.
That said, let’s take a look at the information from this interesting study.
The gender inequalities between husband and wife
This news isn’t exactly…new. In fact, the University of Michigan used a database on family dynamics from the Institute for Social Research, that has been compiled since 1968.
The idea was to perform a current study to see how the distribution of household chores has changed over the decades.
The results were published by Reuters agency, and can be summarized in the following fashion.
Inequality in distributing chores
In spite of the changing times, awakening new consciousness and legal changes that try to reconcile life and family work, men still continue to bring home a higher salary.
- Women are the ones that choose, generally, to give up their work and professional responsibilities, temporarily or definitely, to dedicate themselves to raising children and caring for the home.
- When conditions are equal, which is to say, when both partners work, in general terms, the women still continue to dedicate more hours a week working at home and with the children.
- There are differences from generation to generation. Women older than 60 years of age dedicate up to 28 hours a week taking care of the house.
- Women with 3 kids also dedicate more time to paying attention to the children and house, much more than their husbands.
- The rest of women with partners dedicate, on average, 7 hours a week more than their husbands or partners in daily household chores and on children, if they have them.
And it’s also not surprising to know that in the past these differences were much more pronounced. In 1976, for example, the average amount of hours that women dedicated to domestic chores was around 26, while the husband only dedicated 6.
Inequality in caring for dependents
This is one of the most relevant facts. A couple can distribute perfectly the care and raising of smaller children.
But when it comes to paying attention to dependents, either elderly or other family members with greater physical limitations, the responsibility tends to fall on the woman.
So here we see how tradition and the system in which women play the role they always have, in the private sphere within the home, they are the ones that take care of and pay attention to the family members, along with domestic chores.
So let’s point out again that, of course, each family has its own dynamics. There are thousands of men, partners and husbands that take responsibility for this task. However, according to this study produced by the University of Michigan, these differences continue to be marked.
Changing consciousness and educating about equality
We have moved forward a bit since the time when our grandmothers and mothers understood that their responsibility was to care for and tend to household labors.
However, there are other things that we need to keep in mind as well: each couple reaches their own agreements according to their situation and particular needs.
- Household chores are the responsibilities of both parties if both members work. Equal conditions, equal investment.
- If an agreement is reached in which one party decides to stay at home and care for the kids, allowing the other partner to bring home the money if their job is better, is a respectable decision.
- So authentic inequality occurs when both partners have equal personal conditions, but only one invests and dedicates their time, while the other “takes for granted” that this is what their roles are, and that’s how it should be.
- This is not right. You need to change your awareness and invest in gender equality, in equality between responsibilities and opportunities.
This is achieved only by respectful education in which children are taught from an early age that we are all part of the team. Men and women have the same rights, and we are all people with needs and obligations.