Give up housework to have it all, women told

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Across the Western world, men do far less unpaid work, such as routine work and shopping, than women.

London - Women can have it all – but only if they are prepared to sacrifice some of their control in the home, psychologists believe.

Research suggests that if a woman runs her household without any help, she has less interest in scaling the career ladder.

But the reason for this is not quite what you might expect, such as being too tired.

According to experts, the satisfaction of being in charge of day-to-day domestic tasks leaves mothers with less of a thirst for success at work.

If she were indeed to ‘have it all’ – a phrase coined by the late Cosmopolitan magazine editor Helen Gurley Brown to mean women can have a family life, a love life and a career – she would need to be prepared to carve up some of the home decisions with her spouse, a study suggests. This would free up some of her career drive and enable work success.

Experts from the University of California explained: ‘It appears being in charge of household decisions may bring some semblance of power to a woman’s traditional role, to the point where women may have less of a desire to push against the obstacles to achieving additional power outside home.’

Men, conversely, appear to hunger power in the workplace, whatever their home life. The study asked 136 men and women aged 18 to 30 whether being in control of household decisions something they desire and would find empowering. Both sexes agreed that being in charge is an advantage.

Then, 150 women were asked to imagine being a married mother and either making most of the household decisions or making them jointly with her husband, and rated their hopes for their life in order of importance.

The Society of Personality and Social Psychology’s annual conference heard that those who had envisioned being in control at home placed less value on things such as earning a high salary than those who had imagined sharing the running of the household.

Then, almost 650 men and women were asked to imagine one of the same two scenarios but with division of household chores.

The men’s interest in work was not affected by thoughts of being in charge at home, the study found. And if a woman imagined having to do all the chores, without making the decisions at home, she was still hungry for power in the workplace, it found.

Researcher Professor Serena Chen said: ‘This suggests it is the power aspect of household control that reduces women’s interest in power outside of the home.

‘To realise true gender equality in both private and public spheres, our results suggest women may need to at least partially abdicate the role of ultimate household directors and men must share such decision-making.’ - Daily Mail


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