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Chore Wars: myth of the slacker dad debunked?

A man sits atop a lawn mower.
A man sits atop a lawn mower.
Jamie Baker/Flickr

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It’s an age-old domestic debate: who does more work, men or women? According to the latest research, it’s neither. Various surveys including statistics on professional duties, household chores and child-rearing responsibilities are turning up new evidence that men and women now have combined daily totals of paid and unpaid work that for the first time are almost exactly the same. According to the most recent data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women are actually only putting in about 20 minutes more work (paid and unpaid) per day than their husbands. It's still true, however, that women with young children put in more hours around the house and with the kids, at the same time as their husbands are putting more time in at the office, where cutting back hours as a new dad is still stigmatized. Women may be working more, but it's not the extra 15 hours a week predicted by sociologist Arlie Hochschild in her 1990 book “The Second Shift,” which argued that women liberated by the feminist revolution to work one shift in the workplace suddenly found themselves working a second shift with the kids when they arrived home because their husbands had not made a parallel cultural change. TIME editor Ruth Konigsberg says, quantitatively speaking, working mothers “have no grounds to stand on. And it’s time that women—myself included—admit it and move on.” So what about the pay gap? And is the conventional belief that working mothers have it the worst simply a myth?


Ruth Davis Konigsberg, senior editor, TIME and the author of “Chore Wars: Men are now pulling their weight—at work and at home. So why do women still think they’re slacking off?”

John Robinson, professor of Sociology and director of the Americans' Use of Time Project at the Survey Research Center at the University of Maryland, which conducted research on couples’ use of time by having them keep a diary accounting for all 24 hours of their day

Arlie Hochschild, professor emeritus of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley; author of the book “The Second Shift”