This article was originally published in English
A new survey reveals that housework and childcare in the UK remains unequally shared between men and women, and the picture is often bleaker across Europe.
Nobody likes doing housework, but a new survey has revealed that women in the UK still carry out a disproportionate amount of these often thankless tasks compared to men.
The British Social Attitudes Survey (BSA) revealed that more than three quarters of respondents said household chores should be shared, but around two thirds of women still do more than their share of cleaning and cooking.
The survey results give hope to those fighting for gender equality.
In the mid-1980s, 48% agreed with the statement “a man’s job is to make money and a woman’s job is to take care of the house.” This year, just 9% agree, with 32% of men surveyed admitting they take care of the house less than they should.
In 1983, when the BSA survey began, the female employment rate among women ages 16 to 64 was only 54 percent; It has now risen to 72% and many mothers who would have traditionally stayed at home are now choosing to return to work after giving birth.
Differences in Europe
In continental Europe, however, the situation is very different to that in the United Kingdom.
According to statistics published by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) in 2021, domestic tasks, caring for children and caring for people with disabilities or other chronic illnesses continue to be the most unequally distributed on the continent.
The EIGE found that around 91% of women with children spend at least one hour a day on housework, a figure that drops to 30% among men with children.
The research revealed that much of this unequal distribution of work is due to deep-rooted gender roles transmitted from mothers to daughters and from fathers to sons.
The level of education also influences.
Women with more education spend less time on household chores, but the opposite is true for men.
EIGE found that highly skilled female employees frequently outsource household tasks to reduce the time they spend on them, while men appear reluctant to spend money on tasks they can apparently do themselves.
Across Europe, many countries have recently seen an increase in gender balance in decision-making and taking responsibility for household chores.
In the last decade, France, Luxembourg, Italy, Germany and Spain have seen a notable increase in equality at home.
At the other end of the scale, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia and Bulgaria have regressed in terms of a level playing field in the balance of power between genders.
Across Europe, statistics show that, on average, 79% of women (with or without children) do housework and cook daily, compared to only 34% of men.
That difference is smaller in Sweden. In the Scandinavian country, 74% of women carry out these tasks regularly, but 56% of men also collaborate.
On the other side of the gender equality coin is Greece.
There, 85% of women do housework, while only 16% of men ever help.
Childcare, a women’s “job”?
As for parents, perhaps not surprisingly, the percentage of women who take care of their children is much higher than that of men.
Around 93% of women aged 25-49 who have children under 18 take care of their children daily, compared to only 69% of men.
In Greece, the disparity is exceptionally wide, with 95% of women taking care of their children compared to 53% of men.
Malta presents similar figures, while Sweden (96% women and 90% men) and Slovenia (88% and 82%) are much more equal in terms of gender balance in childcare.
In general, there is a marked difference across the continent and in certain regions.
It seems as if Scandinavian countries – closely followed by many in Eastern Europe – are more comfortable sharing traditionally feminine roles, with Western countries slightly behind. It is southern Europe that lags behind in this classification. The reasons are not entirely clear, although one of them seems to be that the more religious a country is, the more entrenched the imbalance between men and women.