As a woman, earning the same as your male colleagues is one thing, but if your other half isn’t pulling their weight at home you might still be losing out.
While the average man does 16 hours of unpaid work – which includes adult and child care, laundry and cleaning – women pull more than their fair share with 26 hours. It is equivalent to £166.63 for men (if paid), and considerably more – £259.63 – for women.
Of course, there are many households where men do as much as or more domestic labour than their female partners – but the numbers find women overwhelmingly tend to pick up the slack.
In fact, even if both partners work full time, women tend to do more, according to one study. Another study found women do more than their fair share of the housework even if they work and their partner does not.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, which falls today, is #BalanceForBetter, which means there’s no better time to question whether this inequality exists in your own household.
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What’s more, a more equal division of domestic labour can reap benefits for families as a whole. Several studies have found heterosexual couples who share housework such as washing dishes, laundry and cooking have a better sex life.
Another study from British Columbia found fathers who do domestic chores around the house are more likely to raise daughters who go on to have less traditional and potentially higher paying careers.
Technology for a more equal household
Even if the division of domestic labour hasn’t caught up with the 21st century, technology certainly has. A whole host of apps and online platforms are available to ensure you can bring balance into your home.
Jules Malseed-Harris, founder of Our Home, an app designed to help manage domestic chores, says he and his wife have used the platform to “address imbalances” in their workloads.
He told Yahoo UK: “OurHome helps couples become accountable for the amount of domestic labour that they do.
“It makes everything someone does within the home transparent and in so far as that transparency leads to accountability, couples can then work out ways to appropriately address any imbalances.
“For example, over the course of the last five years, since my wife and I started using the app, I’ve done a little over 62% of the housework whereas she’s done a little under 38%.
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“That’s fine though as she ‘pays’ me 25 AUD (£13.42) an hour for my extra contribution, which while less than my market rate is enough that I feel both recognised and rewarded. Furthermore, she earns more than me so it makes sense that I contribute more around the house.”
From task management systems to grocery lists, here are the apps which will help you and your partner divvy up the household responsibilities.
This is an easy-to-use task system specially designed for chores around the home, including laundry, walking the dog and cooking dinner.
It can also be used to motivate children to carry out responsibilities, awarding “points” for every task completed. There’s even a Webapp version that can be used on desktops.
Download the OurHome app on iOS, Android or Webapp.
Create a shared calendar with your partner in order to keep track of what needs doing in the house – and tasks can be assigned to either one of you. It creates a visual, colour-coded representation of how you both spend your time, meaning it’s much easier to see who is and who isn’t pulling their weight.
Yes, you can use a wall calendar – but that means it’s easier for responsibilities to be forgotten about when you’re not at home. You can also schedule repeat tasks, so there’s a reminder of when to get the gutters cleaned or when car insurance needs renewing.
Download Cozi Family Organiser on iOS or Google Play.
Can’t decide on who should look after a particular chore, or – frankly – both just awful at DIY? There’s an app for that.
From cleaning to furniture assembling, TaskRabbit allows you to hire someone else to help with secure, cash-free payments. Taskers advertise their skills, for which you hire them by the hour.
Download TaskRabbit on iOS or GooglePlay.
If you and your partner have separate accounts, keep track of your spending on everything from utility bills and mortgage payments to meals out using Splitwise, a bills splitting app.
Think less squabbling over who’s paid more towards the grocery shop or petrol this month – more simple, straightforward accountability.
Download Splitwise on iOS or Android.
This allows you to keep a continuous list of what you’re running short of, which is shared between you and your partner on your mobile devices. You can then access it anywhere, at any time, so you’ve no excuse if you forget to pick up milk.
The shared, digital nature of this system means that – rather than one person being in charge of a written grocery list – you are both equally accountable for making sure the fridge is well stocked.
Download OurGroceries on iOS or Android.