Scandinavians most attractive husbands, Aussies least: study

Wed Aug 5, 2009 9:03am EDT
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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Swedish and Norwegian men may make the most attractive husbands as they'll help with the housework while Australian men, renowned for their love of sport and beer, came last in a British study on roles in the home.

Economist Almudena Sevilla-Sanz from Oxford University set out to see if marriage and cohabiting rates in developed nations were linked to attitudes toward the roles of men and women and views on who is responsible for the housework and childcare.

Sevilla-Sanz, from the university's Center for Time Use Research, found that women living in countries with the highest proportion of egalitarian men, who were happy to do their share of chores, were more likely to marry or live with a man.

"This study shows that in egalitarian countries there is less social stigma attached to men doing what was traditionally women's work," she said in a statement.

"This leads to men in egalitarian societies taking on more of a domestic role so the likelihood of forming a harmonious household becomes greater, resulting in a higher proportion of couples setting up households in these countries."

The study was based on interviews with 13,500 men and women aged between 20 and 45 from 12 countries which were ranked according to an "egalitarian index" based on questions about gender, housework and children responsibilities.

Norway and Sweden topped the egalitarian index, with Britain in third place, followed by the United States, making their men the most attractive marriage partners for women.

Next came the Netherlands, Ireland, and New Zealand.

At the bottom of the index were Japan, Germany and Austria, with Australia coming last as the least egalitarian.   Continued...

<p>A couple share a siesta on Manly Beach in Sydney, December 25, 2007. REUTERS/Will Burgess</p>