How to get men to do more chores as census shows women are carrying households

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The census has again revealed that women do more unpaid household work than men – but that may be starting to change.

The census has again revealed that women do more unpaid household work than men, but habits may be starting to change for the better.

Last year, almost a quarter of men said they did less than five hours of household chores during the week, compared to 15% of women.

Only 12% of men did more than 15 hours of housework per week, compared to almost 30% of women, including 13% of women and 4% of men who spent more than 30 hours per week on unpaid domestic work.

It’s a familiar story that’s been repeated since the Census began collecting household workload data in 2006.

However, with changing habits during the pandemic and the increased willingness of young men to participate, things are starting to change.

Leah Ruppanner, professor of sociology and founding director of the Future of Work Lab at the University of Melbourne, said men needed to be supported with better policies to make it easier for them to take on caring roles without fear of losing out. work.

“Men have increased their contribution to household chores and childcare over time and younger men want to be more present, active and attentive at home,” Professor Ruppanner said.

Research has shown that men have stepped up during the pandemic, when the demand for domestic childcare, home schooling and household chores has increased.

However, women have also increased their domestic workload to stay on top.

“So while men should be applauded for doing more during the unique strains of the pandemic, we show that mothers were the real heroines of the pandemic, engaging in extra work at the expense of their health and well-being. well-being,” Prof Ruppanner wrote in the chat. .

Even when women are employed full time and earn more money, they are usually called upon to do most of the work.

“We have documented these trends for decades – enough. Now is the time to act,” said Professor Ruppanner.

One of the goals of the Future of Work Lab is to make household chores more equitable and the group is calling for systemic change to achieve this.

According to Professor Ruppanner, one of the greatest demands from households is the role of carer, which in many cases falls to women.

Three burden-relieving initiatives that she says are universal are free, high-quality childcare, paid leave for caregivers, and/or better, longer-term cash payments for caregivers.

Another key change would be policies allowing men to take on caring roles without fear of reprisal or penalties at work.

Only one in 20 Australian fathers take paid parental leave after childbirth and, on average, Australians work more hours per year than those in Canada and the UK.

“The Australian workplace needs to become more supportive of men’s right to care,” Prof Ruppanner said.

“The pandemic has created the space for many men to happily take on larger caregiving roles and has shown workplaces that flexible working is doable.”

Professor Ruppanner noted that research has shown that the division of labor in same-sex relationships is generally more equal, although some suggest it may become more one-sided once children are involved.

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