Have we bridged the gender gap when it comes to household roles, domestic duties, and career choices? Not entirely – but a new survey suggests that women are leading the way in closing the gap and preparing the next generation of men and women to continue the fight.
According to the YouGov survey Women’s Voices: Paving the way for future generations, women are making strides in the workplace but still tend to handle a majority of the domestic chores – even when they bring home a majority of the household income.
The survey of over 14,000 respondents in nine countries found that 22% of women who live with a partner contribute over half of the household income. Women in Hong Kong, Thailand, and Sweden were more likely to contribute more to the family coffers, while women in the U.S. and UK were more likely to have spouses as the major income contributor.
A slight majority (52%) of women who bring home at least half of the household income have greater responsibility for managing household finances (compared to 41% of all women living with a partner). However, other categories thought of as traditionally male responsibilities still follow the stereotype even when the woman makes more money.
Consider the following traditionally male tasks. Only 38% of higher-earning women handle most of the family’s long-term financial planning. Just under one-third of higher-earning women make big-ticket purchasing decisions, and approximately one-quarter handle more household maintenance and/or driving chores.
Meanwhile, women continue to handle most traditional household chores – especially child care responsibilities. Only 2% of women worldwide reported that a partner had the major role in child care. 58% of women claimed the majority of child care responsibility (led by Germany’s 74%), while 38% of women said the responsibility was equal between the spouses (led by Sweden’s 61%).
Worldwide, women handled the majority of cooking chores (63%), cleaning and household upkeep (62%), and grocery buying (54%). All values remained above 50% even with higher-earning women.
To break the stereotypes, girls and boys must be encouraged to become more comfortable with tasks traditionally performed by the opposite sex and consider careers typically held by the opposite sex.
Both medicine and science are closer to equality.The survey found both men and women would encourage girls as well as boys to become doctors and scientists/engineers, in similar percentages. However, both men and women were more likely to encourage girls to go into the traditionally female world of teaching. Similarly, both sexes were more likely to encourage boys to go into the male-dominated IT field.
Survey data shows that across the globe, women are more likely to challenge the stereotypes and encourage boys to consider careers such as teachers, nannies, nurses, and homemakers while encouraging girls to consider careers as police officers, firefighters, entrepreneurs, and video game developers.
It’s important to break gender stereotypes as early as possible – and this survey shows that while progress is slow, women are more determined than men to break these stereotypes. It’s less of a switching of roles than it is a quest to consider all opportunities and find the situation that’s right for you, regardless of your gender.
It appears that in the breaking of stereotypes, just as in the typical household, women are doing most of the work. Come on, men of the world! Do your part for equality and give your children and grandchildren the widest possible array of life opportunities.
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