New study blasts theory that women do more work

Thu Aug 5, 2010 1:48pm EDT
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By Isabel Coles

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - He may leave his socks lying around and avoid emptying the dishwasher, but a new study shows husbands do as much work as their wives.

London School of Economics sociologist Catherine Hakim's research shows that when both paid work and unpaid duties such as housework, care and voluntary work are taken into account, men do pull their own weight.

"It's true that women do more work in the home, but overall men and women are doing the same, which is roughly eight hours per day," Hakim told Reuters.

In fact, the study of how people use their time found that men in Britain spend slightly longer on "productive" work each day than women.

"Feminists are wrong to claim that men should do a larger share of the housework and childcare because on average, men and women already do the same number of hours of productive work," Hakim said.

She said the data overturns the long-standing theory that women work a "double shift," juggling a job with household chores, and working longer hours than their husbands.

The study, "(How) can social policy and fiscal policy recognize unpaid family work?," used data from Europe-wide Time Use Surveys.

"Results were similar across Europe, except in the ex-socialist European countries, where there is less of a tradition of men chipping in," Hakim said.   Continued...

<p>City workers make phone calls outside the London Stock Exchange in Paternoster Square in the City of London at lunchtime October 1, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville</p>