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Report: Married Mothers Are Doing More Housework Than Single Mothers

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Married mothers — and mothers with live-in partners — are doing more housework than their single counterparts. That’s according to a new study, which found that married mothers do around 32 minutes more of daily housework than single mothers. But why? Researchers Joanna Pepin and Noelle Chesley say the differences may be based in gender expectations.

"Both men and women face constraints. So there are things that sort of push women, I would say, in to more childcare and housework — whether they’re working or married. And there are also things pushing men out of it," says Chesley, a professor of sociology at UW-Milwaukee, whose recent work focuses on breadwinner mothers and stay-at-home fathers

"Both men and women face constraints. So there are things that sort of push women, I would say, in to more childcare and housework — whether they're working or married. And there are also things pushing men out of it."

Pepin is a post-doctoral research fellow, whose report looked at the time that mothers spend on housework, child rearing, leisure, and sleep. It analyzed the difference between mothers based on their relationship status.

"It's really showing that men are not necessarily contributing in ways that are bringing about equality in the home, even though couples report that what they want is an equal relationship," Pepin says.

She continues, "These are important findings because it's one of the reasons that we're likely seeing this stall in other ways of gender inequality — so, women's labor force participation and the wage gaps, and all other indicators have really stalled." 

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Joy Powers joined WUWM January 2016 as producer for Lake Effect. Most recently, she was a director and producer for The Afternoon Shift, on WBEZ-fm, Chicago Public Radio.