Dirty Britain Shirking Housework

Article excerpt

NO ONE is doing the housework. Families in the 1990s spend much less time cleaning and looking after their households that they did 30 years ago.

Experts believe that dirty laundry, a backlog of bills and outstanding repairs are common in today's households, and will continue to put additional stress on family life as more women enter the workplace.

Women are doing less housework than ever because they are working longer hours in paid work, marrying later and having fewer children. And although men now do more household chores than in the 1960s, the time they put in has levelled off in the past 10 years.

Sociologists from the University of Maryland have found that one- fifth of the housework went undone in 1995 compared with 1965.

Women still do more at home than their husbands. Men spend up to 10 hours a week doing cleaning, cooking, paying the bills, and outdoor repair work, while women put in 17.5 hours a week.

"This study underscores the dramatic changes in the performance of unpaid house labour since the 1960s," said Suzanne Bianchi, a researcher from the department of sociology at the University of Maryland and the author of the report. "Much less housework is being done. This is especially notable in homes that have become significantly larger during this time, suggesting a greater need for cleaning. …