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Should income dictate your share of household chores?

Written by: Emma Lunn
Women still do the lion’s share of household chores in 2021, with only seven in 10 (68%) men believing that chores should be divided equally.

Women are bearing the greatest burden in the home when it comes to doing the household chores with 61% of those living with their partners claiming to do the greatest share, compared to just 19% of men, according to LifeSearch.

According to a report by the insurance broker, Brits spent an average of 7.3 hours each week on chores including cleaning, cooking, childcare and gardening over the past year, with women spending 34% more time (8.3 hours) on chores than men.

This figure rises to 10.4 hours among women who live with their partner and children. This means the average women spent 109 hours more in the past year on chores than men, equating to an additional 4.5 days.

Should income dictate your share of household chores?

The LifeSearch Health Wealth & Happiness Report found that just 68% of men, compared to 79% of women, think that household chores should be divided equally regardless of how much income someone brings into the home.

A further one in 10 (11%) men believe if you earn more money, you shouldn’t have to do as much housework (vs 6% of women), while a further fifth of all men (21%) are on the fence on this topic, as are 15% of women.

The study also found that 12% of those aged 18 to 34 years believe your share of chores in the home should be aligned with how much income you bring into the home, vs just 4% of those aged 55+.

The LifeSearch study s found that among working women, half (50%) still say they do the majority of household chores, vs just one in four (25%) of all working men. Women spent an average of 7.6 hours on housework per week – almost equivalent to a typical working day – on top of their paid job.

And this gender gap doesn’t appear to be shifting year on year. In 2019 men spent 5.9 hours and women 8.5 hours per week on housework, as women still claimed to do the majority of chores (53%) vs men (23%).

Emma Walker, chief marketing officer at LifeSearch, said: “Over the last year we’ve all had to juggle work, childcare and family life mostly from the confines of our own homes.  Household chores have come to feature more prominently for many of us and yet our study has found a gender inequality appears to exist with women shouldering the majority of the chores – with working women spending over eight hours each week on unpaid tasks in the home, equivalent to an additional working day.

“Our study found that the nation’s health, wealth and happiness was at its lowest point in 2020 and when asked in March this year, almost half of women (49%, vs 42% of men) claimed to feel less happy compared to pre-pandemic times. While being apart from friends and family and feeling isolated were key reasons, almost a fifth (16%) cited that family pressures during lockdown played a part in this, no doubt exasperated by the pressure of unpaid work in the family home too.”

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