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Swedish women doing less housework: study

Swedish women doing less housework: study

Published: 31 Aug 2011 13:45 GMT+02:00
Updated: 31 Aug 2011 13:45 GMT+02:00

While Swedish women are spending less time on household chores that they were a decade ago, they continue to carry a greater share, despite the fact they work as much as their male partners, according to a new study published on Wednesday.

Women spent an average of 14 minutes less per day on unpaid housework in 2010 than in 2000.

Men meanwhile increase their input by 11 minutes, according to Statistics Sweden (SCB) new "time use" survey.

In comparison to SCB’s time use survey from 1990, women in Sweden in 2010 spend an average of one hour less on unpaid work in the home. The input of men has meanwhile remained largely constant over time.

The report however shows that a gender imbalance remains, with women spending an extra 45 minutes on unpaid housework than their menfolk, and dedicating an average of four hours per day to the home.

Traditional gender roles have been cited as one explanatory factor for the continued gap and according to 39-year-old father-of-two Shane Quinn, the solution to the problem is to have an open dialogue.

“Divide it up. areas of responsibility. Talk. Try to focus on things that you don’t mind doing and avoid the things that drive you crazy,” he told The Local on Wednesday.

Women are instead devoting more time to their work, with an increase of 21 minutes over the decade. Men are meanwhile spending an average of 14 minutes less per day on the job.

The report indicates that despite the disparity when it comes to housework, women and men now spend an equal amount of time at work - some 7 hours and 20 minutes.

The survey also indicates that women and men spend their times pursuing different tasks in the home. Women spend almost two hours per day on housework, while men spend one, supplementing their time with 45 minutes of maintenance work.

Women spend an average of 43 minutes on cooking, while men spend 26. Washing dishes and clothes, and cleaning, occupies women for 111 minutes, while men spend an average 60 minutes.

The introduction of a tax deduction for household services (RUT-avdrag) introduced in 2007 was mooted as an initiative to ease the load of working families and also to encourage companies working in the sector to pay their taxes.

39-year-old Stockholm resident Mark Blake told The Local that while the tax break has been popular and perhaps contributed to greater equality, the business of dividing housework in the home should remain a private matter.

"It is the government's role to ensure that taxes are paid on products and services. If there is a spin off effect and if greater equality in the home is a result, then that is just great," he told The Local.

The survey furthermore indicates that considerable changes have occurred in how spare time is used after jobs and housework are completed.

Television continues to dominate, and has increased somewhat for both sexes. The use of the internet has also increased dramatically.

Statistics Sweden's time use survey involved 3,294 people aged 15-84-years-old who were asked to fill out two diaries for how they spend their time on a weekday and on a weekend.

The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:46 August 31, 2011 by Canuckleheader
Ahh, so THIS is where my hard-earned kronors go - to pay for important studies like this.
14:59 August 31, 2011 by A SAFARI
now i see why a girl i once dated say to me with her mouth wide opened:"i never did laundries with my ex i was with for 4 years"!
15:13 August 31, 2011 by Radical1
The empire is striking back
15:23 August 31, 2011 by Svensksmith
Oh look, the plumber is washing the dishes.
15:56 August 31, 2011 by prince T
So Anna Anka was right.
16:42 August 31, 2011 by Shibumi
Seriously TL? You guys couldn't find a single photo of a man doing housework without showing his buttcrack?
17:30 August 31, 2011 by Mb 65
What do they mean unpaid house work? you don't need a degree to do house work. it's what you do when you have a home together.
18:09 August 31, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
Again, this is one of the stories in where TL is trying to pull our legs. Swedish men have never been relegated to a washing machine, a chef, a baby sitter or a maid in their homes. Swedish wives are the less feminism-indoctrinated females in the world. They hate Gloria Steinem, Gudrun Shyman and the likes. Swedish men will never wind up wearing skirts like women wear jeans since feminism stroke like Dark Vader upon the planet.
18:58 August 31, 2011 by calebian22
Swedish wives are less indoctrinated to feminist thinking? In what Sweden do you live? Certainly not the one where I live. Feminism rules Sweden.
19:30 August 31, 2011 by Svensksmith
My guess, calebian, is that this will change significantly in the next 20 years or so.
19:37 August 31, 2011 by jamesblish
Yes, by all means bring on the Swede hate, the anti-feminism and slurs about unmanly men. We're all very interested.
21:12 August 31, 2011 by loddfafnir
It can only be that one gender sees a speck of dirt more easily than another and it worries them so much that they take it upon themselves to clean it up before the other even notices it's there. "Domestic blindness" … it's a curse! :)

Housework is a necessary evil, but need not be that hard or time consuming. Certain people just like to make it that way. I am a man and live in an average size house with my two teenage boys. We are typical messy guys. But I don't have the opportunity to "divide up areas of responsibility" with a woman and so I simply do everything myself in the most effective way possible. We do not live in a pigsty. Neither do we live in a sterile hospital.

I need take no more than 1 hour a week cleaning the house, including dusting, vacuuming, polishing, mopping, scrubbing, etc. Once a month I give the house a little harder clean and once a year I give it a full top to bottom clean inside and out. Add all the time together and I spend an average of 15 minutes per day on cleaning.

Making meals and cleaning up afterwards takes no more than 60 minutes per day. But, yes, I do cook! If I was to use the dishwasher instead of washing up in the sink, it would be even less.

Ironing averages out at about 10 minutes per day. But really that shouldn't count since I do it in front of the TV when I otherwise wouldn't be doing anything other than just sitting watching TV anyway.

Putting away clothes, changing sheets, sewing repairs and other such sundry household chores take up another average 15 minutes per day.

Add all the times together and I spend 100 minutes, or a little over 1.5 hours, per day on the indoor household chores. Does it need to be more? Of course throw a baby into the mix, and I can well understand the time would get multiplied many times over. Been there, done that! But let's assume here that the "average Swedish family" has school-age children.

On weekends the outdoor chores are taken care of - mowing lawn, house repairs, car clean, etc. I presume, strangely enough, that isn't included in the "equal division of labor". But anyway, it would add only another 30 minutes average to my daily chores. So, in total, about 2 hours per day is all I need to get absolutely everything that needs to be done taken care of around the home. Now that my sons are old enough, I delegate them a few of the household chores on occassion. But that is so they gain the experience more so than as a necessity to give me more free time.

How on earth can anyone fill up 4 hours per day on housework? And why would they want to?!! If they do, it's their choice.
21:17 August 31, 2011 by Abe L
If only it was possible to get affordable external help in Sweden with these things. It would trivialize the whole discussion.

When we lived in the states we had a housekeepster twice a week to keep the house tidy and deal with dishes and laundry, a guy for the garden and another guy for the pool. All very affordable making it not worth it to bother with, add eating out or take-out to the list and you don't have to cook either.

Why o why can't we get these services in Sweden, there are sufficient unemployed people out there that could be making a living instead.
21:28 August 31, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
Because everything is forbidden in Sweden. So simple. We have a government that looks for us, makes our lives easier and enjoyable plus taking care of our income by not spending our money in subsidies to countries in disgrace.
22:26 August 31, 2011 by dizzymoe33
The picture of the young man washing dishes is funny. Gives a whole new meaning to the crack business!!!

When I was growing up everyone did everything there were no roles for just women do this and the men do that. If the lawn needed to be cut then I was told to do this not my younger brother. If dishes needed to be washed then it was done by both myself and my brother, same with washing clothes and keeping house. And everything got done that is all there is to it. It takes a village to get everything done.
06:10 September 1, 2011 by rybo1
Not just Swedish women, but most women are perfectly content to live in a pig sty.
10:14 September 1, 2011 by PoJo
Oh dear God, seriously? Discussing how many hours a day a man and woman HAVE to do housework? Who regulates that? This is something everyone decides for themselves, no need to spend time and money on this bs.
10:53 September 1, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
If you analyse the picture of the man, you will understand that it is biased. The man already lost his pants at home, which means that he cannot even raise his voice because he has no pants to do it, ergo, women are the masters at home, something that in Sweden is not true. Swedes are the ones who control what their sambos, wives or whatever do, think, eat, wear, etc, etc. Women in Sweden are poor little doves in the hands of the Swedish "machos".
14:39 September 1, 2011 by jacquelinee
This is just ridiculous. Another "think tank" discovery to waste money that could be spent on something important...like health care or elderly care. HELLO!!!

This is a totally redundant survey unless it was analysed by separating the families where both partners work outside the home, and among those, the hours worked by both, number of kids, ages of kids etc within each group. It says the ages were from 15 to 85. It does not take a rocket scientist to know very few kids of 15 are married so they can't compare a "husband/wife" dynamic there, especially since Swedish kids for the most part, do absolutely nothing at home. The elderly need to be sorted into categories, healthy, physically challenged etc.There are many seperate dynamics and combinations, situations etc that need to be seperately analysed in order to actually get a precise and accurate outcome. Lots of man hours of labour involved and, as anyone who has worked with a Swede (not every Swede, but a good majority) work, and especially extra work is not a strong point. Big waste of time and probably HUGE waste of money, for an inaccurate and pointless survey, but it does keep the money spent on something requiring WAY less work that revamping the healthcare system. So, I totally get it!
09:52 September 2, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
14:39 September 1, 2011 by jacquelinee

This is just ridiculous. Another "think tank" discovery to waste money that could be spent on something important...like health care or elderly care. HELLO!!!

And what about hungry and homeless families, children and others that need money invested in them and not in "intelligent" surveys that prove nothing bur a waste of time and money? Or millions of Swedish Crowns "donated" to corrupted countries and dictators? Or the millions "donated" to politicians who have not opened their voices at the parliament one time? HELLO! ! !
21:11 September 2, 2011 by Streja
You guys need to start watching UG.
16:50 September 3, 2011 by philster61
How unsurprising... Is this contributing to the explosion of overweight women we are currently seeing happening?
15:04 September 5, 2011 by Dildo
they do more hand-jobs !
15:19 September 5, 2011 by Marc the Texan
I think this is pretty obvious to any man who has cohabited with a Swedish woman. The contrast between Swedish women and the women of southern Europe is striking. Spanish girls spontaneously wash your dishes the first time you invite them over.
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