Housework is traditionally understood as an economic exchange – housework for money – or as a form of patriarchy drawn along gendered lines. Yet our new study argues that housework is also divided according to the previous night’s fight and our knowledge of our partner’s trigger points.
For many couples, the notion that housework is a form of interpersonal tension and support is not surprising – we adjust our behaviours daily as a form of love, caring and compassion for our partners. However, existing theories assume our housework is divided based on four dimensions of our lives: our earnings, our time demands, our gender role attitudes and our gender.
These concepts have been well supported in academic scholarship. Men do less housework, on average, than women; the partner with more resources (more work time and money) spends less time in housework; and couples with more traditional gender attitudes have more traditional work and housework divisions.
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