Good Question: Why Do Women Still Do Most Chores?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — So much has changed since the 1950s, yet so much stays the same. Despite more women working out of the home, and working more hours than in the past, when it comes to housework, women tend to do the majority of the chores. So, why hasn’t that changed?

According to Time Magazine’s reporting on the “Chore Wars,” men are working longer hours at paid jobs and women are still doing much of the chores.

When you add up the hours of paid and unpaid housework from the 2010 Bureau of Labor statistics reporter, you’ll see the gap between men and women with full-time jobs is nearly nonexistent.

Women with full-time jobs and kids under the age of 6 total an average of 56 hours a week of housework and paid work. Men average 57 hours of combined work.

Women still do close to 2 hours of housework a day (1.77) while men do closer to 1 (1.12).

“It’s hard to undo centuries of undoing women’s and men’s roles in a couple decades,” said Carol Bruess, Ph.D., a University of St. Thomas communications studies researcher and author of “What Happy Couples Do.”

“Men don’t see the work. It’s somewhat invisible to them because women are so used to doing it on their own,” said Anna Kudak, co-author of “What Happy Couples Do” and communications studies professor at Augsburg College.

On Twitter, Sarah Voight wrote:”We consciously appointed roles at our marriage. Me: Minister of the Interior. Him: Minister of the Exterior.”

However, Kudak said that comparing interior work to outside work isn’t an equal trade, as the inside chores often come with more time-related stresses.

“Outside you’re enjoying the weather,” she said, adding that you have the ability to put off that work. “Dishes happen every time a day, multiple times a day, you can’t get out of that.”

When it comes to chores, researchers found that men are typically order-followers, doing tasks. Women are household managers, doing much more than men, because that’s how they were raised.

That’s why Kudak pointed out in her blog, Your Mom Doesn’t Really Love Christmas, that although men are helping out more with chores than they’ve ever done in the past, there’s still a gap in “kin” work, the backstage work that women tend to take on in making sure that things happen.

“Remembering to make appointments, not just taking the kids to the doctor. Managing the household, how do you account for that in time?” asked Bruess.

More from Jason DeRusha
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  • not I said the fly

    This is news? Now let’s see something about us single parents who work full time (or more), raise the kids on our own, and do all the inside *and* outside work.

    Complaining? Not me! It may be a bit more hectic, but kicking his dupa to the curb was worth it!

    • Give me your number

      You go girl. My kinda women

      • Courteney

        @ I’m Just Saying – I was thinking the exact same thing when I read her comment. People never want to take responsibilty for choosing these losers to have kids with and then think they are doing the world a favor by being a single parent.

        People really need to realize that it is their responsibility to choose GOOD people to be GOOD parents. I have NO sympathy for these single parents that did it to themselves.

        • Real Talk

          You are probably the dumbest individual i’ve ever met.

          Let me ask you a real brain buster you two Einsteins are too friggin dumb to consider…..what does a “good” person look like? What job does a “good” person have? How do you deteremine the differnce between the “good” people and the “losers”? Can you define it…or are you more confortable just judging everyone based on your own specific criteria you made up? Did you get a consenses from the popluation on what constitutes “good” people, or is it just your own opinion?

          You so obviously didnt graduate anything…you are lucky your husband can stand the site of you long enough to share a bed with you…..otherwise you would be in line for WIC or foodstamps….lord knows with that kind of intellect, you are not even qualified to flip burgers sweetheart. PS…lay off the chocolates, you are fat enough.

          • Swordsman

            How many of you know a woman who says she only meets A-holes, and all men are awful?

            Those are the ones seeking out A-holes and then can’t figure out why it always happens to them.

            The problem is they’re asking the wrong question. They need to be asking themselves why they’re only attracted to A-holes. They are their own worst enemy, not the men they choose.

      • You Don't say

        OK I,m just sayin, how dumb are you really? I would love to hear more from you. I have never laughed so hard.

      • not I said the fly

        Good lordy! Yeah, I kicked his dupa out… We were together 20 years. After that time we admitted we were better together apart. Our kids (who were still pre-school) deserve parents who can show them healthy relationships.

        Did I ever say I didn’t take responsibility? Heck no.I never should have married him (or anyone) when I was that young and I’m sorry I didn’t leave before the kids arrived years later. The truth is, I take full responsibility for getting my kids out of what could become a bad situation. He and I are both better off now. He’s got a great new relationship, we still communicate for the sake of the kids, and he’s still very much in their lives. My kids aren’t latch key – I’m there to help them with homework and am very involved in their after school activities.

        As for WIC or public assistance? Not in our house. I have a decent job. I own my home (albeit a smaller one) and I have a decent (albeit used) car. My grad degree suits me just fine to stay employed in today’s economy. My initial response was merely a smart a$$ remark about how some of us (men AND women) do all of the household work – inside, outside, and in the office.

        So to all you who feel it’s important to bash me, go right ahead. It’s nothing I haven’t already said to myself when making some of the most difficult choices I’d have to make that would affect my kids. I don’t regret a moment of my life. My marriage taught me so much and, while I’m not happy it ended, I’m satisfied it ended leaving both of us healthier than we were when it started. Is that really so bad?

        There are some bitter people on this board, so have at it. In the meantime, I have to get back to work (I’m on a well-deserved lunch break). Then at the end of the day I get to go home, mow the lawn, throw some steaks on the grill, and fix my fence. Have fun with your petty bickering and stereotyping. i’ve got a life to live.

      • @give me


        or woman?

        The first makes ya sound like the “dupa”

    • Courteney

      @Not I Said The Fly – you did NO ONE a favor by having kids with a loser. You chose to have a kids with a guy who wasn’t going to be there for you or your kids. That’s a horrible thing to do to your kids. You are irresponsible and yet you feel you deserve….sympathy, high-fives, congrats….???

      You chose your life, you chose this life for you kids. You are the definition of a selfish person. You chose to have kids because you wanted them no matter how difficult it made it on the kids themselves. Kids deserve a well-funtioning two-parent household.

      However, my comments in no way are directed to people who are single parents not by choice (death of spouse). It is only directed at people who chose to have kids with loser people.

      • whata 6itch

        Wow! Is it that time of the month for you? Are you sure you’re married? Poor guy!!

        Who said she had kids with a loser? Who said her guy wasn’t going to be there for her kids. (Her other post says the direct opposite in fact.)

        Who said she wanted kids no matter what? Is a badly functioning two parent home better than a single parent loving home with both parents involved?

        Who are you to judge?

      • Courteney's Ex

        I had kids with this real fat loser broad. I am so ashamed. She was almost pretty at first, but then got real fat and lazy. She wasnt the brightest bulb either….come to think of it…she was incredibly dumb and judgemental. She always thought she was right and that her opinion was someone Gospel that everyone should follow. In that way, she was a real conceded b*tch. I was so selfish….just like you say. I know my kids deserve a well-functing two-parent home….but all i gave my kids was a fat, lazy, know-it-all for a mom. I just hope my kids dont grow up to be such opinionated, stubborn, unintelligent judgmental pr*ck like their mom. I am scared for them. I just hope i never run into that fat, dumb-as-rocks broad again…..i can barely remeber her name its been so long since i’ve seen her. But i think her name was…..OMG Courteney….it is YOU!!!!!!!!

    • u make me sic

      So you are a home-wrecker to your own home. where is the dignity in that? and thats not even the worst part, my taxpayers dollars has to go towards your daycare assistance and WIC just because you made poor life choices.

      • Liz

        Wow… I love how single parents are so stereotyped. Where does Not I said The Fly say she is on WIC? In fact, she clearly states she works full time. You are a bunch of ignorant fools.

        My aunt is a single parent, raising her kids successfully, has a Masters in Education and is currently a VP with the Department of Education. My ex-uncle was not a loser when they met. He was not a loser when they got married. He was not a loser at the birth of their children. One day, he made a bad choice, and they both came to the conclusion to get a divorce.

        How do you know Not I Said The FIy wasn’t in the same situation? You don’t, yet you easily judge her and assume she’s a leech on social welfare, as well as other women in her situation. Good gosh, maybe the story shouldn’t be about chores, but stereotyping single parents.

        • Reality sucks

          The most ignorant and unreliable–most judgemental and insane–write on these boards. I tend to read the commets for shi*s and giggles. Then, I go educate myself on something, anything, so I don’t linger in the malaise. Good times.

        • not I said the fly

          Liz – I actually get a bit of a laugh about the comments here. Like the person who also posted about reading for sh1ts and giggles… People will make assumptions. So be it. They lose out in the long run and I’d certainly prefer my kids learn from a mom and dad who live apart but both love them, than a bitter couple who fight but stay together “for the sake of the kids.”

  • What

    Because it their job. Get it….

  • Brian

    Not exactly sure what the point is…it states the number of hours worked, on average, is nearly identical… is not INVISIBLE work, just different work. I work my butt off at my paid job, my wife works her butt off at home raising 2 kids. Just an article trying to “raise some feathers”.

    • SnowFire

      The article says men work 57 hours a week to 56 hours for women so shouldn’t this be the important factor instead of the type of work being done? and the comment on “remembering to make the appointment… …managing the household…”, can I assume that they were asked to leave these tasks out of the calculations and women do these 100% of the time – these experts are a waste of our time, I only hope the public is not footing the bill.

  • Us women did it to ourselves

    Now, what I mean by that is women are now expected to be both a stay-at-home mom and a working wife. I don’t think women knew what society would be like in the years ahead when they asked for equal rights. I wonder if they realized that women would still be responsible for their children while keeping up with equal responsibility/pay in the workplace with men, if they still would want to be equal with men. They seemed to have left out one thing – whose going to take care of the household and raise the children? I don’t see men doing this. Women in today’s society work fulltime jobs and raise families too, in addition to most of the household chores. It is very rare for me to hear about men having equal responsibility as far as child rearing and household chores. Granted, men do more household work than ever before, but it’s only because the wife is too stressed out to do it all. Men might help around the house, but it’s still not equal.

    In America when people hear of a female working fulltime and the father staying home, they assume it’s temporary (due to a layoff) or that the male is basically lazy. But when the man works full-time and the wife stays home, it is assumed that the male makes enough money to run the house-hold on one income and it is seen as a good thing for the family. In my opinion, one of the (many) reasons America is slipping between the cracks is because women are working fulltime, come home to household chores and obligations that they have little time left to nurture their marriage and teach their children basic child rearing necessities that allow children to become responsible members of society. Children are left to learn from outside sources such as the media (video games, internet, and peers). I think the women of the feminism movement wanted it all… and thats we have… it all. Too much responsibility is what plagues American women of today’s society and in the end, society as a whole will pay for it.

  • JW

    STUPID QUESTION. Where can I find one of you babes to get my car started during a snowstorm when it’s 10 below ZERO?? Answer? Dont’ even think about it. How about mowing the lawn once in a while? Maybe an oil change? How about a decent CHRISTMAS PRESENT, without a whole lot of guilt thrown in on the side? THAT’S the kind of women who I have run into the past 10 years.

    • Courteney

      @JW – What? Your comment is so stupid. If you have a problem finding decent women it’s probably because you are a loser who attracts other losers.

      To answer your questions: Yes, I’ve helped my husband in the middle of a snow storm. I mow the lawn 100% of the time. Our lawn is an acre of ALL hills and I use a push mower (no rider on these steep hills). I do my own oil chnages, my husband does his oil changes and if one of us is really busy the other one will do both of them. Gifts??? My husband and I usually don’t exchange gifts at all. We both feel they are forced and usually end up being what the person doesn’t want.

      Again, if you are having problems about only finding women who are losers, I guarantee that it is because you are a loser.

    • meow

      JW and Courteney… maybe you two should meet up.? wink wink

      No seriously, I love both of your comments. I just love the social dynamics of Men and Women and how they, in the end, really don’t truly fulfill each others needs 100% of the time.

      You don’t hear this bickering from Gay couples… who ironically aren’t allowed to marry. Two guys can fulfill each others needs better and two women can do the same for each other. It’s pretty amazing when you see it in real life.

      • The Architect

        The failures in male/female relationships can be traced to miscommunication.

        Men think the woman they married will always be the girlfriend they met, and women think the man they married will grow up from the boyfriend they met.

        Both are completely wrong in those expectations. If your boyfriend sits on the couch all day Sunday drinking beer and watching football, he won’t magically stop doing that 10 years later just because you are his wife. Men, just because your girlfriend flies off the ceiling fan and does the bare-a55 boogie 3 times a week doesn’t mean she will as your wife.

        • Brucie

          Hey Architect,
          If you pull all your teeth and promise not to shave, I’ll marry you!!!

        • @architect

          ut oh the expert is back. grace us, oh, knowledgeable one.

        • Bob

          Architect, where were you 6 years ago, I don’t think anyone could have put it better. 5 years of dating and she would tell me to wake her up for sex when I came to bed, even if it was 2am when the movie finished and I had my last beer. She would be a great Orator whenever asked & frequently initiated oration, especially on long trips. She loved to please me with great “talks” as I drove. 6 months of marriage and I asked for an annulment because we hadn’t had sex since Honeymoon and that was only twice in the week of our Honeymoon. She assured me that she was stressed with new job & I got Saturday & Sunday sex – whoopee!!! 4 months later I was scratching my head, where’s the sex. 5 years now, sex 21 times, she utilized her skills as an orator 4 times, always after intense begging and she refused to talk very long. Those 4 talks were 4 of my 21 sexual encounters with my wife in 5 years. I told no one, took my vows too seriouslsy and hoped she would return to the woman I met. Divorce is done in 4 weeks and when I asked her why she wouldn’t try to save it and why had she changed. She said that I had changed, I drank too much. I pointed out I always had 6-8 beers a day, including when we dated. Her response “well then you didn’t grow with me”. You nailed it. Thank goodness she pulled the plug before I spent my whole life in misery and even worse before we had kids.

        • Bob

          Architect – if you get a petition for Congress to mandate that statement and the basics of relationships be added to the cirriculum starting in the 7th grade I think it would pass…

  • beingzhenya

    I think women have the gene for household chores. If I wasn’t in my fiance’s (almost husband’s life – we are getting married this Sunday) he would be eating pop-tarts cold out of the box every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He does the dishes though, and since we don’t have a dishwasher, that’s a great big PLUS!

    • Swordsman

      “I think women have the gene for household chores.”


      I have some women for you to meet, my dear…

  • See BS

    For one thing, women value cleanliness more than men. Men don’t really pay attention to things women notice. A man won’t care as much about a booger on the mirror.

    And there are women who do enjoy being homemakers. And it’s a nice feeling for men to have a homemaker, not everyone has a chip on their shoulder.

    • You Don't say

      Its all BS we are all different. My house is pristine and I am a single straight man, so where do I fit in?

      • See BS

        I know women who are pigs too, they have TV shows about horders. What is your point?

      • single straight female

        Want to come clean my house? I’m too busy doing yard work and home repair to do the inside work.

    • Couteney

      @See BS – Everyone is different. You can’t say that women value cleanliness more than men. It just isn’t true. The most cleanliness anal person I know is a man. The most digusting person I know is a women. And then there is everyone in between those two extremes. Just because you chose to see this stereotype doesn’t make it true. Stop spewing off your BS.

      And yes, some women enjoy being homemakers. Some men enjoy it to. It’s not “women are…. and men are….” it is “people are…”

    • meow

      I have to agree… but I know some guys who are very clean and organized (Virgos)

      Over all, women are by nature, care-takers and more organized than men. This is why we need more women in our government, and no, I’m not talking about Bachmann.

      • The Architect

        I’m a Virgo!

        My birthday is in 13 days!!

        My wife is a Virgo too, and I’ve never met a messier human being in all my years on Earth.

      • See BS

        Women suck at managing money, that’s why welfare mothers need section 8, welfare and the EBT money. And in many cases it leads to handi-cap parking plates.

  • Old argument....write on something new

    Don’t let your facts get in the way of your argument…..I think you answered your own question.

    Stats based on this article:
    Men total work paid vs. unpaid = 57 hours
    Women total work paid vs. unpaid = 56 hours
    Men chores = 7.8 hours per week
    Women chores = 12.4 hours per week
    Men hours on job = 49.2
    Women hours on job = 43.6

    So men do less “chores” around the house but put more hours at work, women more work at house and less at work. Your complaint is that society is won’t let women be equal…..ok…. I think the same argument can be made that society wont let men have an equal work/life balance either. AND/OR some families find that this is the best way to manage the family and that is their choice.

  • Jason DeRusha

    I have a good question: Why does Jason DeRusha still have a job?

    • Mark

      LMAO well played

  • Bill

    I am a 51 yr old male.
    I work over nights 39 hr a week (used to be full time)
    I home school my 11 yr old daughter.
    I cook
    I cleen
    I do the yard
    I wash clothes
    I fix things
    I go to Church
    I play
    My 46 yr old wife does all this as well except she works days.
    The one thing we do not do is complain.
    If you do not love your life, change it or shut up.

    • NotaMaid

      I need to find a Bill :-/
      I work 40+hours a week, I cook 5 night a week, I clean, I have no yard so no yard work, I do all of the laundry, I FIX things, I take care of our kitties, I go to them gym, and I TRY to get out and play.
      He works 40+ hours a week, I’m lucky if I can get him to pick up his clothes that he’s strewn all over the house. Sometimes he will cook a meal, but not once has he touched that bathroom in regards to cleaning, not once has he grabbed the duster and started going to town.

      • Courteney

        @NotaMaid – you married him. Why did you marry him if you weren’t happy with the way you lived/got treated? I don’t feel bad for you at all. It drives me nuts when people make a choice like this and then are unhappy/complain about it. I don’t know many people who would be happy being treated like that, which is why most people try to marry people who treat them as an equal.

        No body’s fault but your own for marrying a loser.

      • meoq

        I find when whips and electric tasers are involved, things get done. FAST … *CRACK – ZAP*

        • The Architect

          When can I come over for some of THAT?? :)

  • gdog

    I see men doing much more no adays because many women do work full time outside of the home. My sister for example works full time as does her live in boyfriend. She works later in the day and her boyfriend much earlier, but both work about 50 hours a week. The livein boyfriend takes care of her 17 year old child while she is at work, since he gets home earlier. He also cleans the house, does all yard work, and ensures her child gets to all of his activities and off to school each day. Meanwhile, when my sister gets home, she will usually just lay down and expect to be waited on by both her child and live in boyfriend. So please, stop painting all women as super human.

    • JamieinMN

      Until you can give life to a fetus, women will ALWAYS be superior and will ALWAYS be Super Human

      • JamesinMN

        Women were bred to serve Men. Simple as that!!

      • meow

        Women by nature are more nurturing and will “nest” their homes because they are the one’s who get preggers. They are more organized as well. They should be running our government.

        • The Architect

          Boy is this incorrect…

  • Sue

    I clean because my husband doesn’t know how to clean. My husband changes the oil in my car because I don’t know how to change the oil in the car. He doesn’t want to learn how to clean, I don’t want to learn how to change the oil. As long as things are split equally, who cares who does what?!

    • meow

      OMG Sue… what are you suggesting? A HAPPY BALANCE? … gasp!

  • Bill Jones

    Because the kitchen is where women belong, snuff said. Now go make me a sammich.

    • Libby

      How do you fix a woman’s watch?

      You don’t … there’s a clock on the stove

      • meow

        omigawd, I thought you were going to say “There’s a clock on her Smart Phone that she’s stuck to”

  • Bryon

    B as in Bull, S as in Sheet.
    My wife and I share all household duties. We both clean the house. We both do the yardwork. We both do the snow removal. We both cook. I would never ask her to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. Treat your woman equally and you would be amazed at the results.

  • not all men are helpless and hopeless

    Our Society has too many bill jonses, and not enough Bills. I guarantee you, 51 Bill and his wife have a great, loving marriage. My father-in-law was the same. His Motto was, ” there is no such thing as Mens or Womens work…Just Work. Another very wonderful marriage.

    • Courteney

      Well said! I’ve always lived by the thought that it is all just work, not men’s or women’s work. I don’t know why that is such a hard concept for people to understand. My husband and I share everything, pitch in whenever we can, both work full-time jobs, etc.

      • all's fair inlove & housework

        I agree! The only thing my hubby won’t do is clean toilets, but he’s awesome at every thing else, so I give him a pass on that one and let the kids do it. :o)

      • me

        Wow you have no sympathy for anyone at all do you..How about people not marrying losers but thinking they found prince or princess…courting…doing the whole routine…in love…everythings great…get married, and things that weren’t there before the marriage were all of the sudden there after the marriage. Not everyone jumps into marriage to marry a loser on purpose. I knew a women who was in love..and had the best husband ever…he helped her with everything much like your husband…only 20 years later come to find out…he was leading a double life and had a second family with kids and all on the other side of the river…we are human…we cannot no every single thing…not everyone was born with psychic powers.

      • Real Talk

        Your husband sounds like a little girl. Is that why you married him…because you actually like little girls?

        I’m guessing he married you because you were the last stop before Gay-town and he didn’t have the fair for the rest of the ride. And you married him…well, let’s be honest….any man who can stand the sight and smell of you for more than 5 minutes….you held onto like grim death.

        And biologically speaking….there has always typically men’s vs women’s work. The distinction has lessened over the past two thousand years…but it is still there, innately in our DNA. The grand part….you don’t have to be smart enough to recognize it for it to exists. Cheers!!!

  • JW

    Boy, Courteney is just FULL OF WISDOM on this thread. Maybe she should run for governor. I’m tired of all the women out there, who still treat their adult children like they are still adolescents, and have to be on the phone with them 3-4 hours EVERY SINGLE DAY, because the kids want something.

    • meow

      JW… please keep posting. I’m laughing so darn hard. I mean it. You ROCK

      • Bill

        Im off to work. had a good day at the beach with my daughter. Kissed Mary good by.

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  • Liza Jean

    You people are some angry MFs. It will take many more decades to truly get away from the woman-as-house-servant, man-as-bank family model, which was never a fair deal for either gender. But when we get past those limiting boxes we’ll all be a lot happier as HUMAN BEINGS. I was raised by a working mother who did EVERYTHING in the home. I never saw her when she wasn’t working. My father, while a great man in many respects, was lazy as hell around the house and seeing that model affected me greatly as a daughter. It gave me a very negative view of men and their contributions to a woman and family’s happiness. (As an adult I know that many men are not like my father, but what you see in your formative years shapes you.) Sharing household chores equally among the parents AND children fosters respect and unity among the family and teaches each member valuable life skills. IMO EVERYBODY should know how to cook, clean, take care of a yard, do basic car stuff, manage a budget, etc. etc. It’s called being an adult.

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