Insisting your children complete household chores builds character and responsibility, right? But when it comes to domestic duties, are we expecting too much from our daughters? A new study suggests girls are often given the bulk of household chores like cleaning and preparing dinner while their brothers are not expected to do as much of this type of work.
The Washington Post reports about a new worldwide study from UNICEF that suggests that from a very young age parents tend to send the wrong message to their daughters regarding household chores. The study found that worldwide girls ages 5 to 14 spend 50% more time on chores, with an even higher rate of double the time in areas like North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia.
Researchers involved in the study suggest parents who expect their young daughters to undertake more chores than their brothers are sending a detrimental message that will follow them later in life. Study authors say, “The types of chores commonly undertaken by girls — preparing food, cleaning and caring for others — not only set the stage for unequal burdens later in life but can also limit girls' outlook and potential while they are still young.” They add that domestic chores like cooking, cleaning and caring for elderly relatives may make girls think these are the only tasks they are qualified to do and has “lasting effects on [girls'] self-esteem and sense of self-worth.”
Rather than burden girls with all of the household chores, researchers believe parents need to ease up, especially in countries where more than half of all young girls spend 14 hours per week on chores. If we want gender equality and for our daughters to have a brighter future, authors of the study advise, “Supporting girls to stay in school and be involved in sports, play and other leisure and asset-building activities — and investing in infrastructure, technology and childcare to ease uneven burdens — can help put girls on the path to empowerment and the world on course to great gender equality.”
What do you think of the worldwide study that suggests parents tend to dole out more household chores to their daughters rather than sons?
What does the chore list look like in your household?