UK Women Still Shouldering Major Share of Household Duties Despite Progressive Attitudes, Survey Reveals


Survey results suggest that while a significant majority of Britons firmly believe household duties should be equally divided, women are generally the ones who undertake them.

Over 75% of respondents in the yearly British Social Attitudes Survey voiced their belief in sharing domestic chores. However, two-thirds confessed that women shoulder more than their fair share of household tasks such as washing, ironing, cleaning, and cooking.

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Perceptions of gender roles have nonetheless undergone a vast change since the mid-1980s. Nearly half of the populace at that time agreed with the notion that a man’s purpose was to earn and a woman’s to tend to the home. A stark contrast can be seen in this year’s statistics, where such agreement is reflected by a bare 9%.

Nonetheless, 63% of women claim to bear a larger part of the housework, while a modest 22% of men acknowledge the same. An admission of underperformance from 32% of males confirms the phenomenon social scientists call the “second shift”, where women juggle dual responsibilities of professional careers and majority of home duties.

Delving into historical data, the female employment rate of 16-64 year-olds in 1983, when the British Social Attitudes Survey first launched, was 54%. Fast forward to 2023, and that proportion ascends to 72%. The statistics reveal that more mothers than ever are involved in the labour market today.

In contrast, the percentage of working-age men having paying jobs has remained almost stable; 78% in 1983 versus 79% today.

The survey also revealed an increase in the percentage of respondents advocating for gender-equity in contributing to household income: from roughly half in 1989 to 70% today, with both men and women showing parallel ascensions in support.

Yet, the survey unveils how workplace norms and public policy perpetuate the imbalance of domestic labour between men and women. A deep rift between public sentiment and the actuality remains, with women disproportionately shouldering the domestic front.

As the survey indicates, in spite of notable progress, the United Kingdom is nowhere close to witnessing a total revolution in breaking down traditional home roles.

In conclusion, the survey, encompassing over 6,638 interviews conducted between September and October of the previous year, suggests that Britain has much ground to cover to conquer this remaining hurdle to gender equality.