New study could ignite new war of the sexes

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 said.

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 recognise 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.

In
Scandinavian countries, men were found to work more hours than women.

Hakim
hopes to draw attention to the bias of government policy across Europe, which
tends only to see paid jobs as real work and said there is evidence that men
are beginning to demand the same options and choices as women, with more claims
of sex discrimination from men.

“One-sided
policies that support employment and careers but ignore the productive work
done in the family are, in effect, endorsing market place values over family
values“, she said.

“Policy-makers
need to be aiming for gender-neutral policies.”

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