When it comes to sharing household chore responsibilities it seems same-sex couples have a leg up on straight couples. Jezebel reports about a small study conducted at Families and Work Institute and PriceWaterHouseCoopers suggests that gay couples are more adept at negotiating a fair delegation of household responsibilities that leads to both parties avoiding conflict about chores. (Many couples probably relate to just how magical it would be to never have another tiff about the dirty dishes or the unfolded laundry!)
Imagine a world where the doling out of household chores, financial management and childcare was not a point of contention among couples allowing these things to run more smoothly. Researchers involved in the study looked at 225 mixed couples (straight and gay) and found: “A greater proportion of same-sex, dual-earner couples than different-sex couples indicate that they share laundry (44% versus 31%) and household repair (33% versus 15%) responsibilities. A greater proportion of same-sex, dual-earner couples than different-sex couples indicate that they share routine (74% versus 38%) and sick child care (62% versus 32%) responsibilities.”
All of the couples were similar in that the lower earner of the relationship took on the daily chore of cooking. One big difference was that men in same-sex partnerships were much more likely to say that they discussed the division of labor before moving in together whereas women in straight relationships were more likely to report wanting to have this conversation with their spouse but never having the chance.
The data also shows that when women are part of a straight couple they are more likely to do twice as much work caring for children and doing housework even when they are the breadwinner. Ken Matos, FWI senior director of research and author of the study explains, “There’s been a lot of calls for more sharing of child care responsibilities, so it isn’t only a woman’s problem and she isn’t the only one dealing with the fallout at work. But we see more sharing in same-sex couples. Taking on primary child care responsibility impacts one’s work time. It creates so many unscheduled interruptions, so that’s an important thing to be shared.”
What do you think of the new study that suggests same-sex couples are more likely to have a fair division of household chores and responsibilities?
Why do you think this is and how can straight couples work things out around the house in a more balanced way?