Why Men Doing Housework Is Important for Women’s Careers

Women make up nearly half of the workforce, spend less time in the house than previous generations, and have less time to keep a home. It would seem reasonable for the housework to be divvied up equally between husband and wife; however, that’s simply not the case.


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In fact, “Dads do less housework today than they did in the 1980s,” according to Derek Thompson in his article for The Atlantic. The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) reports that mothers spend an average of 18 hours a week doing household chores, while fathers only do 10 hours per week.

Why aren’t husbands lending a helping hand in the home so that their wives can pursue careers without the constant burden of keeping a tidy house? Is there ever going to be a happy medium?

According to Stephen Marche of The New York Times, “The only possible solution to the housework discrepancy is for everyone to do a lot less of it.” Marche’s ludicrous solution to the housework dilemma – oh, just don’t clean at all – stems from an Ohio State study that found that women are still doing as much housework as their mothers and grandmothers; however, the numbers for men seems to show a decline in contributions over the decades. Why don’t we all just stop troubling ourselves with housework, then, and not clean ever? Poof – problem solved.

“A clean house is the sign of a wasted life, truly. Hope is messy: Eventually we’ll all be living in perfect egalitarian squalor,” declares Marche. Housework, he says is female “garbage,” that only adds to the “minor insanities” of obsessive housewives who don’t want to live in filth or disarray. How dare you ask for decent and acceptable households, ladies? Who do you think you are? 

Unfortunately for Mr. Marche, Mom was right, “the dishes aren’t going to do themselves,” nor are the toys going to wake up and walk themselves back to the toy bin like a Toy Story movie. So, unless you have a housekeeper, robot, or disposable everything (including clothes), then your house is sure to resemble that of a hoarder in no time.

The point is, many women want clean homes, but they also want promising careers (as their husbands have). The reality is that balancing a career and family makes little time for anything else, especially cleaning.

As Derek Thompson states in The Atlantic, “…maybe, now that women are out-earning us in bachelor’s degrees and (often) in marriages as well, we could stand to do oh-just-slightly more than 35 percent of the dishes.”

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