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Wealthier men less likely to do housework

12 February 2015, 08:10

The more money a man makes, the less likely he is to help with housework, a new study finds.

British researchers interviewed men and women who lived with a partner, all of whom had at least one child younger than 14.

"There's a stark difference in couples' attitudes towards gender equality, depending on how much they are earning," said study leader Clare Lyonette. She is a principal research fellow from the Institute for Employment Research at the University of Warwick in England.

"It seems men on lower incomes are happily picking up the dusters, filling the dishwasher and generally starting to do their bit. Times are changing and they acknowledge there's now a need for more equality in the home," she said in a university news release.

But higher-earning males seem to have a different attitude about the problem, Lyonette said. Although they recognize the need to help their partners, instead of taking on household chores themselves, they might just hire a cleaner.

"And although men in general are starting to make themselves more useful around the house, regardless of income, the age-old theory remains the same – women, on the whole, are doing the most," she added.

The study was published in February issue of the journal Work, Employment and Society.

Male incompetence

One reason for the imbalance in household labour between men and women is what Lyonette called the "myth of male incompetence".

"This is a belief by some women – and our study shows it's still rife – that men are unable to complete housework to an acceptable standard," she said.

"Women know their contribution to the household should be fairly reflected in the sharing of housework and are often frustrated by their lack of success in changing the situation – but their frustrations are to some extent mollified by the idea that men are inept at domestic chores," Lyonette noted.

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