A Notre Dame study of heterosexual couples, using US Census data spanning almost 30 years, reveals that men who work in occupations that are traditionally considered female — nursing, teaching, hairstyling, and the like — will do 25 percent more household chores than men who work in male-dominated fields like engineering. Interestingly, women in women-dominated fields do 14 percent more chores than women in traditionally male occupations, but if their spouse or partner switches from a “male” job to a “female” job, they will reduce the number of chores they do.
What’s the Big Idea?
In a paper presented at the American Sociological Association this week, Notre Dame sociology professor Elizabeth Aura McClintock wrote that simply by working in a female-dominated environment, men’s attitudes towards housework may shift towards greater awareness and empathy. Another observation was that the amount of non-work time affected who did more chores: “Men will increase their household tasks a bit when their wife works more hours, and they’ll reduce them when they collect a lot of overtime.”