Big news, ladies! Turns out your husbands haven’t been slackers all along.
TIME’s cover story this week (available here for subscribers) examines the “Chore Wars” that take place in most modern marriages, where women have long felt the burden of being overworked. Ever since women entered the workforce en masse in the 1970s, they’ve felt the pressures of paid work on top of their pressures of unpaid work such as chores around the house and childcare. Their husbands, by contrast, seemed to move at a glacial pace to increase their fair share. This pressure on working women has caused, NewsFeed imagines, many a marital spat.
(PHOTOS: Married for 50 Years: Love Ever After)
Yet some of those recent spats might have been for naught. As Ruth Davis Konigsberg reports, men and women’s work each week is now actually pretty much on equal footing. Though it’s still true that women with young children do put in more hours around the house and with the kids, at the same time their husbands are putting more time in at the office (where cutting back hours as a new dad isn’t typically an option). According to the most recent data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on hours worked by women and men who are married, employed and have kids, the ladies are actually only putting in about 20 minutes more work (paid and unpaid) per day than their husbands. Sure, they’re working more, but it’s not the 15 hours a week difference made famous by The Second Shift, the hugely influential book by Arlie Russell Hochschild.
As a result, Konigsberg writes that overstressed women should stop pointing the finger so squarely at men. “On balance, husbands and wives have never before had such similar workloads. Quantitatively speaking, we have no grounds to stand on. And it’s time that women — myself included — admit it and move on.”
LISTS: Top 10 Perpetual Divorcés