Is Labour Day still every day for women at home?
“Ask of me anything but doing the laundry.” – Napoleon
True, history suggests the diminutive dictator said to ask of him anything but time, but surely that was code for housework.
Times have changed from the days when men left all the chores to women while they brought home the bacon and conquered nations.
Isn’t it true that the division of labour in the home is no longer so imbalanced?
As a sociologist might put it, the answer is yes and no.
A Statistics Canada study says that between 1998 and 2010 men increased the time they spent on home chores by an hour in a given day, while women’s housework time remained constant.
And yet it found that Canadian women still do at least an hour more chores per day then men.
Moreover, women working full time spend nearly twice as much time caring for their children.
So is the egalitarian glass half-full or half-empty? Or should we measure using a smaller glass?
It bears noting that housework for both genders has decreased overall compared to the 1960s, in part due to such things as affordable home appliances, easier to prepare meals and paid home cleaners.
But chores continue to be mostly handled by women. Friction over the imbalance can doom a couple.
“The division of labour in and of itself can torpedo a marriage,” said Gary Direnfield, a Hamilton social worker and author of Marriage Rescue.
“And it’s not necessarily who is doing the laundry but how we feel about who is doing it. We take that as a statement on the relationship, attach meaning to these chores and fight over what we believe it means.”
Women’s lives have been transformed in the past 50 years, McMaster University sociologist Melanie Heath wrote in an email from Paris where she is conducting research. (Continued… Source: The Hamilton Spectator)