Women’s Roles Have Changed, But There’s Still One Major Gap

We’ve seen a lot of changes in regard to women’s roles in the last fifty years.

Some of these have been beneficial, like equal pay and more opportunities for women in the workplace.

But the more things change, it seems, the more they stay the same.

According to 2019 Pew Research data, nearly 75 percent of women work outside the home.  Of these, the majority – 71 percent –work full-time.

After all, it is difficult to maintain a middle-class lifestyle these days without two incomes.

With two parents working outside the home, it’s always hard to juggle all the responsibilities that come with home and family.

Finding quality childcare and spending family time when not at work are probably the most obvious and important of these.

But what about all the work that has to be done to take care of the home?  Laundry, dishes, yardwork, cleaning – this stuff has to be done by someone, right?

Well, despite the fact that women increasingly work as many hours as men outside the home, it appears there is still a pretty large gap when it comes to who does the housework.

While men are stepping in to help more with childcare and housework than they did a generation ago, the Department of Labor reports that women are still spending an hour more than men on household chores each day.

And more than half of full-time working women do housework every day of the week, compared to only 18 percent of men.

It’s not just an American problem, and it also has little to do with conservative or progressive “value lines.”

Nope, we women are doing far more around the house.  But why?

There are several factors at play here.

Multiple studies have been done on the chore gap between men and women since women entered the workforce.

Women do far more indoor chores like dishes and laundry, which often must be done daily.  Men still do more outdoor chores like yardwork and repairs, which are not done as frequently.

Some studies have found that most women still have a traditional take on what it means to be a “good” wife and mother, i.e. keeping up the house and doing the majority of the cooking.

Other research has been done in which couples are interviewed about their perception of household tasks.  Women were found to have higher standards, and even when men help out, we often think they’re doing a sub-par job.

This sometimes leads us to either do the task over again so that it’s up to our standards or just take it over because it’s “easier.”

And studies also show that when visitors like friends and even family see the house as messy, women are by far the ones judged for it.

Retailers of cleaning supplies and home décor still market primarily to women.

Yes, we’re seeing more commercials with men doing laundry and dishes, but the target audience has always been and continues to be women.

The New Republic reports that only 17 percent of married men are the ones responsible for grocery shopping and laundry in the household, and the percentage is far lower for tasks like vacuuming and dusting.

Experts say that the only remedy is to divide up tasks, with each spouse accepting the way the other does the job.

This is hard for us as women because, just as studies show, we are still the ones who are judged for what the house looks like.

So what should we do?

It seems we need to just let it go, not worrying about housework being done a certain way as long as it gets done.

And we also need to let go of worrying about what others think of us.  Is it more important that your mother-in-law thinks you have a clean house or that you have quality time for the kids and your own self-care?

It may be easier said than done, but unless we stop being so hard on ourselves as women, the housework gap will remain unchanged.

Ladies, how do you approach housework in your family?  Do you feel more judged than your husband when it comes to the appearance of the house?  Leave us your thoughts.