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Men, Women, and Household Chores

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The data has been examined, and the conclusions reached: Men create more housework for women. Although he may mow the lawn, shovel snow, or fix things around the house, a husband adds seven hours per week to the load of chores. The information comes via the analysis of time diaries and questionnaires from men and women from regions all across the US between 1996 and 2005.

Of the people surveyed, single women in their twenties and thirties did the least amount of housework, which was roughly twelve hours per week. On the other hand, married women had about seventeen hours on average, which was the most. These numbers are down significantly compared with similar surveys in the past. In 1976, for example, the same demographic of married women clocked in twenty-six hours of labor each week. It seems men pitch in more now.

There were some differences between households, as well as some unusual cases. But the results of the diaries and questionnaires clearly demonstrated the following: Marriage means more work for women and less work for men. In addition, the situation worsens when children come on the scene. With three kids, the wives took on twenty-eight hours of work around the house per week, while hubbies did only ten.

There were some surprises, too. Older men were more likely than younger men to help out, even though surveys from thirty years ago showed that men contributed only six hours per week to household tasks. Women in their sixties and seventies still did the most amount of work. Single women did the least, or about twelve hours each week.

So what does it all mean? Women have traditionally taken on more responsibility around the house, as men focused on the world of work and careers. Despite equal rights and better career opportunities for women, traditional patterns remain taken for granted by both sexes.

Preview some of the lesson material:

Brainstorm: Brainstorm with a partner(s) words and ideas associated with "chores" for 2 minutes. Spend another 5 minutes or less discussing the words and ideas together.

True or False?: Guess (before the article) or answer (after the article) whether the sentence is true or false. If false, correct the sentence.

  1. Men make women busier with housework.
  2. Single women did the most amount of housework.
  3. According to the article, men now help at home more than thirty years ago.
  4. Younger men help around the house more than younger men.
  5. Because of traditional patterns, women assume more responsibility for household chores.

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. How much work do you do around the house each week? What kind of chores do you do?
  2. Why do you think men do fewer chores than women? Please explain.
  3. Why do women have more housework when there are children? Why don't men help more?
  4. Which is more difficult, work in a career or work in the home for the family? Why do you think so?
  5. If housework were a job that paid money, what would be a fair hourly wage? Please explain.

Google Search: Type "chores" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.

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