Women still doing most of the housework despite earning more
21 November 2019
A new survey looking at household chores and gender supports a study led by Professor Anne McMunn (UCL Epidemiology & Health Care) finding that women do more housework than men in 93% of British households.
Domesticity isn’t so blissful for women. Yes, even in 2019 the balance of chores still isn’t, well, balanced, as new research reveals that despite the number of female breadwinners increasing over the last five years, women are still doing the majority of household tasks. Life insurance broker LifeSearch looked at domestic labour as part of its annual Health, Wealth, and Happiness study. They found that compared to five years ago, the number of women earning the majority of their household’s income has increased by 30%, but the responsibility for household duties remains with women far more than with men. 45% of female breadwinners do the majority of household tasks, versus 12% of male breadwinners. Male breadwinners are also twice as likely to do no household chores at all. The average female breadwinner spends an extra 7.5 hours, the equivalent of a working day, a week looking after the house – and that’s on top of their full-time job.
All this backs up findings from earlier this year, which said that women do more housework than men in 93% of British households – even when both parties are working full-time. Professor Anne McMunn, who led the University College London study, said: ‘These results matter because this is extra work which women are doing for free – as housework is unpaid. ‘We don’t think this is an active choice on the part of men to try to keep women down.
‘But even these days it still tends to be the case that if there is something which needs doing in the home, women just do it. ‘This has been described as a ‘second shift’ for women, who come home from work and start doing more in the form of household chores. ‘Men still earn more than women, on average, and that gives them a little more leverage in terms of negotiating housework. ‘Things are not changing as fast in the domestic sphere as we might have thought, so we need to raise awareness and think a bit more about it.’