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Op/Ed: (Not) Sharing the Load

Moms Spend More Time on Housework When a Man’s in the House

By Liana C. Sayer and Joanna R. Pepin

Household work

Photo illustration by iStock; Sayer photo courtesy of the Maryland Time Use Lab.

Sociology Professor Liana Sayer, below, studies how people use their time in society, providing insight into societal values and inequities. One of her basic findings: Women do a lot more household work than men.

Breakfast in bed for Mom this Mother’s Day might be the only respite she’ll get.

While conventional wisdom suggests that sharing the domestic load with a husband or male partner makes things easier, the opposite is true, sociology Professor Liana C. Sayer, head of the Maryland Time Use Laboratory, and Joanna R. Pepin, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas at Austin. In an op-ed published yesterday in The Washington Post, they detail some of the findings of their research into people spend their time, and what that reveals about gender inequity in the breakdown of household labor:Liana Sayer

We have analyzed data from more than 20,000 mothers who responded to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey (ATUS) between 2003 and 2012—and our research showed that when there’s a man in the house, mothers spend more time cooking, cleaning, shopping and doing laundry than their single-mom counterparts.

This is the case even when a mom brings home the proverbial bacon. Related research analyzing data from ATUS surveys between 2008 and 2012 shows that after working a full day, married mothers who are the sole breadwinner do almost an hour of housework on average compared with about 11 minutes from married fathers who are the sole breadwinner. Even on their days off, breadwinner moms don’t take a break, doing three times as much cooking, cleaning and laundry as breadwinner dads.

Read the rest of their essay in The Washington Post.



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