Study: American men do less household work than women

A woman cleans her house.

UPDATED REPORT

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: A new survey by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development -- the OECD -- says men in some countries do far less unpaid, household work than men in other countries. The study looks at men and women in 29 of the world's more developed countries. And how much time they spent on chores, such as mowing the lawn or doing the dishes.

Marketplace's Stephen Beard is with us live from London with a look at some of the data. Hi Stephen.

STEPHEN BEARD: Hello Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: So, how did the U.S. men stack up?

BEARD: Hang your heads in shame. American men spend three hours a day on household chores, but that is one hour and 40 minutes less than American women. So, American women still doing more of the unpaid household work. However, that still makes them much better off than most women in this 29-country survey.

CHIOTAKIS: All right so Stephen, which countries stood out as having the biggest gender gap?

BEARD: Right. Portugal and Italy in Europe. Men in those countries spend less than 2 hours a day helping out in the home. India, Japan and South Korea are the worst outside though. Men in those countries spend less than an hour on the household chores. I should add though, women are not as badly off as these figures may suggest.

Here's Simon Chapple who helpped compile the report.

SIMON CHAPPLE: Countries where women work in the paid workforce more the gender gap and unpaid work is less.

In other words, by and large when women go out to work -- have a paid job -- they get more help at home from their men-folk. And just a quick note, Steve about definitions. This survey classifies shopping as unpaid work as a chore. Some people might regard shopping as a pleasure. How else do we explain the French who famously have the 35-hour week, spend the most time -- 32 minutes a day -- shopping.

CHIOTAKIS: 32 minutes. All right Marketplace's Stephen Beard in London. Stephen thank you.

BEARD: OK Steve.


ORIGINAL REPORT

American men do less household work then women

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has released a study examining gender inequality in "the unpaid economy" -- household chores and childcare for example. Their findings? Women in the United States work about 100 more unpaid minutes per day then men.

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: A new survey by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development -- the OECD -- says being a man in Italy or Portugal means spending less time helping out at home than in, say, the United States. The OECD says men and women spend different amounts of time on unpaid work depending upon where they live.

Simon Chappelle is with the OECD and he's with us now. Hi Simon.

SIMON CHAPPELLE: Hi Steve. How are you?

CHIOTAKIS: I'm doing well. You looked at unpaid work -- you know, these household chores and lawn work and childcare. How did the United States stack up?

CHAPPELLE: There was a gender and equality out. Over an average day, women do in the States about 100 minutes more unpaid work than men. You can think of the United States as being 20 minutes better than the OECD average per day -- that unpaid work get. But about 20 minutes worse than the best performance.

CHIOTAKIS: Where were the worst places for gender inequality?

CHAPPELLE: The biggest differences in unpaid work time between men and women were Portugal, Turkey and Italy -- the Mediteranian. Now it's also worth pointing out that you can have inequality in unpaid work but with equality in overall total hours worked. At the same time you can have inequality in unpaid work and inequality in total.

CHIOTAKIS: So there is a relationship then between unpaid and paid endevors. What are the results say about the gender equality in the work we get paid for?

CHAPPELLE: Yeah, certainly, I mean you notice that countries where women work in the paid work force more, the gender gap in unpaid work is less. That's pretty clear. So, if you like as you move towards equality in the work place, you also tend to move towards equality in the home.

CHIOTAKIS: Simon Chappelle from the OECD. Thank you so much.

CHAPPELLE: Thank you.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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