Today in disappointing news: a recent study from University of Bath found that moms who earn more than dads still do the majority of the housework. Study author Dr. Joanna Syrda examined data from 1999 to 2017 and looked at more than 6,000 duel-earning heterosexual couples.
Despite the fact that women have been making more and more money since 1997, Syrda noted, “the gender housework gap persists.”
To better understand what’s going on here, Syrda took a closer look at why there’s such an unequal gender divide when it comes to housework. She came to the conclusion that the reasons behind the gap are: “limited male time availability, unequal relative resources and conforming to traditional gender ideology.”
The traditional gender ideology part is key. Syrda hypothesized that moms who make more money than their husbands may feel like they are “deviating” from tradition. So, in turn, the couple overcorrects.
“What may be happening is that, when men earn less than women, couples neutralise this by increasing traditionality through housework – in other words, wives do more and husbands do less as they try to offset this ‘abnormal’ situation by leaning into other conventional gender norms,” she wrote.
The whole thing just ends up being completely counterintuitive. Syrda came to the conclusion that the current system of higher paid moms doing more housework just doesn’t make practical sense.
“If the wife is the relatively higher earner, transition to parenthood shouldn’t result in a more traditional division of domestic labour as this wouldn’t improve the household’s overall quality of life,” she explained. “But this study suggests this is not the case.”
This is just one of the many instances of studies that show inequalities between mothers and fathers. A 2014 study found that women are 10 times more likely than men to take time off of work to care for their kids when they’re sick, according to The Atlantic. On top of that, moms are also five times more likely to take their sick kids to a doctor’s appointment.
Here’s to breaking down traditional gender norms, narrowing the parenting gap and leveling the caretaking playing field.
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