London - It seems women in working class families are still expected to dutifully complete their chores regardless of the long hours they work.
New research shows that even when women make more money than their male partners, men still leave most of the housework to them.
According to the Buzzfeed website, researchers from the University of Indianapolis and Cornell have found that as underemployed men lose economic power, they continue to leave chores to their other-half as “a way of keeping a little bit of that masculine privilege”.
Researchers Amanda Miller, of the University of Indianapolis, and Sharon Sassler, of Cornell, conducted in-depth interviews with 30 unmarried couples, and found that men tend to do less housework after a retrenchment, instead of more.
The couples interviewed were working class, using education and income as an indicator. In most cases, one or both partners had not been to university.
Couples were put into three groups: conventional, contesting, and counter-conventional.
In conventional relationships, the women did the majority of housework, but they seemed to accept this balance.
One female participant said: “I try to take responsibility for a lot of stuff around the house… Sometimes I feel bad because he spends a lot more on us than I do.”
Contesting couples usually showed the woman pushing for more equality in the relationship, but, regardless of who made more money, housework seemed to be divided equally.
But men in a Contesting relationship still felt a push to do more around the house, including one male who said: “I just don’t see the dirt usually. I don’t see that it needs to be done.”
On the other hand, bread-winning women in a Counter-Conventional relationship were doing the same amount of housework as in the Conventional couples.
One woman said of her household dynamic: “The division of labour is I clean, sometimes he’ll clean if he sees that I’m just really mad or frustrated at him, but I basically do all of it to avoid arguments now.”
Miller explained that this may be attributed to working class men having more traditional attitudes about gender roles, compared to university-educated, middle-class men, who see equal participation in housework as part of their responsibility as a partner.
The pair concluded that Conventional couples had the lowest levels of conflict, most probably because of the women accepting, or conforming, to traditional gender roles.
Miller said: “The best kind of model is one in which people’s beliefs match their behaviours.
“(The research shows) how important it is to talk to your partner before you move in together”, because “very few sat down and had a conversation about who was going to do what and when”. – Daily Mail