Couples may be better off living in a “traditional” household where women do all the housework if they want to stay together, according to a report from the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science.
Norwegian researchers were interested to see how married and cohabiting men and women divided housework and childcare throughout various life stages. They analyzed two separate studies involving nearly 20,000 men and women aged 18 to 79: the study of Life Course, Generation and Gender, and the study of the Norwegian Life Course, Ageing, and Generations. Participants respectively answered questions about the division of housework and childcare; their attitudes toward gender equality; as well as other variables like life stage and social class.
The results showed 65 percent of couples equally or near-equally divided childcare, but not housework: Women reported doing all or almost all of the work in 11 percent of couples and “somewhat more of the work” in 60 percent of couples. About 25 percent of couples divided the work more equally, with younger couples, childless couples, and couples where the woman had a full-time job among those more likely to split domestic chores.
Researchers did not find an association between a traditional share of housework (women do most of the work) and a lower risk of divorce — but they did report untraditional couples had a greater risk for divorce. Men who did as much or more of the housework were more likely to get divorced than couples where the woman did most of the housework over a period of four years.
“The more a man does in the home, the higher the divorce rate,” said Thomas Hansen, co-author of the study entitled “Gender Equality At Home,” according to AFP. While researchers found no or very little cause-and-effect, they believe that the observation could be due to “modern” attitudes.