Men on lower incomes, compared with their wealthier counterparts, are more likely to help with household chores, a recent study finds.
According to conclusions by scientists from the University of Warwick in UK, men who had mediocre earnings or less helped their partners more often with housework. On the other hand, men who earned more money were less likely to give a hand in everyday chores.
Although scientists have found that men, in general, are beginning to help their wives more and more with household work, a noticeable difference in the level of engagement between men from different economic classes has been observed. To derive the conclusions, a series of interviews were conducted by the researchers on a number of partnered men and women, all of whom had children under the age of 14.
Clare Lyonette, a scientist for Warwick’s Institute for Employment Research, says this disparity can be explained by differing views on gender equality, which apparently varies among men depending on their economic attainment.
“There’s a stark difference in couples’ attitudes towards gender equality depending on how much they are earning.
“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. But there’s a different attitude when it comes to higher earners. We found that while men in these households do also recognise the need to help their partners, they remain reluctant to lift a finger and appear to simply throw money at the issue by hiring a cleaner instead.”
Lyonette adds that despite a significantly increased engagement in household work — regardless of income — observed among men, women still carry the majority of the burden.
She said, “[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.”
“There’s certainly a fairer division of household labour between couples than in the past but inequality still exists and that’s perpetuated, in part, by the so-called ‘myth of male incompetence’,” said Dr Lyonette. “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.”
Confirming the intriguing discovery of the survey, Lyonette said, “Men from lower-income families certainly seem to be starting to do their bit around the home. But at the same time, until all men are willing to take on more domestic tasks, so allowing women to take on greater responsibility within the workplace, any hoped-for progress in gender equality is likely to stall.”
[Image from Vox Efx/Flickr]