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Men, Women, and Household Chores

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The data has been examined, the results tallied, and the conclusions reached: Men create more housework for women. Although he may mow the lawn, shovel snow, or tinker with repairs here and there, a husband adds seven hours per week to the load of chores conducted around the house. 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, with roughly twelve hours per week. On the other hand, married women did the most, about seventeen hours on average. These numbers are down significantly compared with past surveys of similar veins. 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.

Although there existed difference between households, as well as some anomalies, the results of the diaries and questionnaires clearly delineated the following: Marriage means more work for women and less for men. In addition, the situation worsens when children come on the scene. With three kids, the wives took on twenty-eight hours of chores per week, while hubbies did only ten.

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

So what does it all mean? Women have traditionally adopted more responsibility around the house, and the sphere of work and careers has been relegated to men. 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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