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Study: Why women, but not men, are judged for a messy house

By: Team Ifairer | Posted: 16-06-2019
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Study: Why women, but not men, are judged for a messy house
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Even in 2019, messy men are given a pass and messy women are unforgiven. Three recently published studies confirm what many women instinctively know: Housework is still considered women's work - especially for women who are living with men.

Women do more of such work when they live with men than when they live alone, one of the studies found. Even though men spend more time on domestic tasks than men of previous generations, they're typically not doing traditionally feminine chores like cooking and cleaning, another showed. The third study pointed to a reason: Socially, women - but not men - are judged negatively for having a messy house and undone housework.

It's an example of how social mores, whether or not an individual believes in them, influence behavior, the social scientists who did the research say. And when it comes to gender, expectations about housework have been among the slowest to change.

"Everyone knows what the stereotype or expectations might be, so even if they don't endorse them personally, it will still affect their behaviour," even if they say they have progressive views about gender roles, said Sarah Th├ębaud, a sociologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of one of the papers.

The additional time that women spend on unpaid household labor is a root of gender inequality - it influences how men and women relate at home, and how much time women spend on paid work.
On average, women spend 2.3 hours a day on house tasks, and men spend 1.4 hours, according to Department of Labor data. Even when men say they split housework evenly, the data shows they do not. (Women do more of these kinds of chores in the office, too.)
One of the recent studies, in the journal Demography, analyzed American Time Use Survey data and found that mothers married to men did more housework than single mothers, slept less and had less leisure time.
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