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Gender Debate

Men do pull their weight at home

Research has shown that men do a fair share of housework and childcare duties.

RESEARCH BY the London School of Economics has blasted the idea that of women work “double shifts” to make up for the behaviour of lazy spouses.

The long-held concept that women work long hours in the office – only to come home to clean the house and look after the children is dismissed as a myth by the study, conducted by LSE sociologist Catherine Hakim.

Hakim argues that, when the number of  hours spent doing both paid work and unpaid household work is taken into consideration, European men and women do about the same number of productive work hours a day: approximately eight.

She said: “This data overturns the well-entrenched theory that women work disproportional long hours in jobs and at home in juggling family and work. Feminists constantly complain that men are not doing their fair share of domestic work. The reality is that most men already do more than their fair share”.

Strangely though, this seems to be the case only if the couple has children; if the couple is childless and both working full-time hours, then women tend to do slightly more work, all in all.

Hakim identifies three lifestyle categories: work-centred, home-centred or wanting to combine work and family (adaptive).

Findings show that about 60% of women fall into the adaptive category, 20% want a work-centred lifestyle, and 20% are home-centred.

Hakim is attempting to highlight the kind of  “work” valued by European government – and the effects of this. She said: “One-sided policies that support employment and careers but ignore the productive work done in the family are, in effect, endorsing market place values over family values”.