New Study Reveals How Men and Women Perceive Housework Differently

The gender gap when it comes to chores is still alive and causing problems.

The division of housework is one of the main sources of tension between cohabiting couples, one that even comes up as a reason for divorce. Now, a new study published in the journal Sex Roles has explored how men and women view the division of domestic labor differently in relation to their careers, and it highlights why this problem is harder to resolve than we may have previously believed.

The study, led by psychology Ph.D. candidate Andréanne Charbonneau at the Université de Moncton in Canada, included 204 cohabiting heterosexual Canadian couples. Participants were between the ages of 18 and 30, and had been living together for an average of 3.3 years, which offered interesting insight into how chores affect young couples who are still working out the nuances of domestic life. The researchers found that women still did more chores around the house than men, and men spent more time on career- or academic-oriented activities than on domestic duties, as previous studies have indicated. What's interesting to note, however, is that while the men viewed this as a fair arrangement, the women did not.

"The fact that [men] consider the division of housework to be fair when they are benefitting from the housework arrangement may also continue to structure couples' interactions in the home, which in turn, may continue to be a barrier for women's commitment in the workforce or other public engagements," Charbonneau said in a statement.

She further argued that this "discrepancy in the home is also a major barrier for women's career[s]," given that it's difficult to advance in the workforce when there is always a pile of dirty dishes to clean or toilet to scrub.

The study also showed that when there's a lack of agreement on how fair the division of housework is, "the way one partner responds to the other partner's demands for change can affect the quality of the relationship." Arguments inevitably break out, further underscoring "the need to teach heterosexual romantic partners how to approach household management efficiently," Charbonneau said. Because even though men see it differently, the current arrangement when it comes to household chores largely isn't working.

And for more on how you and your partner can benefit from sharing the load, check out New Research Shows Couples With Clean Homes Have Way More Sex.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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