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Good Question: Why Do Women Still Do Most Chores?

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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.

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