Men think they're doing most housework in lockdown, women disagree - poll

About 45% of men surveyed said they spent more time home-schooling their children than their spouses. Only 3% of women agreed with the claims.

Chiara Zuddas, 31, sleeps in bed cuddling her daughter, two-year-old Bianca Toniolo, at home in San Fiorano, one of the original 'red zone' towns in northern Italy that have been on lockdown (photo credit: MARZIO TONIOLO/VIA REUTERS)
Chiara Zuddas, 31, sleeps in bed cuddling her daughter, two-year-old Bianca Toniolo, at home in San Fiorano, one of the original 'red zone' towns in northern Italy that have been on lockdown
(photo credit: MARZIO TONIOLO/VIA REUTERS)
While the coronavirus outbreak has many stuck in their homes regardless of gender, men and women may not be splitting the housework equally, according to a poll carried out by Morning Consult for The New York Times.
The poll found that 70% of women say they've been fully or mostly responsible for housework during the lockdown. Sixty-six percent say the same concerning child care. These percentages are about the same as they are even when there's no lockdown.
Only about 20% of men agree that their spouses are fully or mostly responsible for both housework and child care, with about 20% of men saying they're fully or mostly responsible for these tasks during the lockdown. Only about 2% of women agree with them.
About 45% of men surveyed said they spent more time home-schooling their children than their spouses. Only 3% of women agreed with the claims.
Research published in the Journal of Marriage and Family has shown that men often overestimate the amount they do, while women end up doing more.
While many researchers (and couples) assumed women were working harder during the pandemic, the poll, which surveyed a representative group of 2,200 Americans in April, was one of the first attempts to quantify the increase on a national level, according to the Times.
Another survey of domestic labor during the coronavirus lockdown by University of Utah sociologist, Daniel L. Carlson, and colleagues, that has not been published yet found that similar shares of men reported doing more than women said they did.
Carlson's survey also found that mothers were primarily responsible for home schooling, even when couples shared other child care responsibilities.
"Being forced to be at home is amplifying the differences we already know exist,” said Barbara Risman, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and part of a group of sociologists who analyzed the data, according to the Times. “What terrifies me for the future is if it will push women out of the labor force in a way that will be very hard to overcome.”
Women are doing less paid work than men during the lockdown, according to the survey. Twenty-eight percent of women and 19% of men said they were working less than usual.
During the lockdown, over half of men and a quarter of women said that they and their partners are splitting housework and child care equally. This was not true a generation ago, said social scientists to the Times. In some cases, men have even taken on more.
For couples in which both members are working full time from home, the housework gap is somewhat smaller, with 67% of women and 29% of men describing themselves as fully or mostly responsible for housework.
About 80% of women in families with children under 12 say they do all or most of the housework and oversee homeschooling, while 70% say they do most of the child care. Less than a third of men in these households say the same about child care.
“To say he does more of it is to say, ‘I’m not a good mother,’” said Kathleen Gerson, a sociology professor at New York University and part of the group that analyzed the data, to the Times. “It’s a question of who stepped in when we had something entirely new to deal with.”
Despite the lockdown, three-quarters of men say their employers expect them to work more or the same amount, compared with two-thirds of women saying the same.


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