When men earn more than their spouses do, they tend to be more lax about doing chores around the house, according to a paper published in the journal Work, Employment and Society. Though, to be fair, men who earn less also do less housework than their female significant others, just slightly more than their bread-winning male counterparts.

The researchers write:

“This research has focused on interviewees’ accounts of these daily interactions and confirms that many men make some contribution to housework, although what constitutes ‘sharing’ is debatable and varies by class.”

Melissa Dahl from NYMag writes on the small, recent study headed up by Clare Lyonette of the Warwick Institute for Employment Research. It consisted of a group of 36 female and 12 male participants who were interviewed by Lyonette. Every one of the participants worked full-time, had a child under 14 years old, and shared the belief that men and women should contribute equally to the day-to-day domestic tasks. But that last point often fell to the wayside as women tended to pick up most of the slack in terms of household chores — it seems actions speak louder than words.

The researchers suggest in their conclusions that this imbalance in relationships could be holding some women back from taking on more responsibility in the workplace.

They speculate:

“If men continue to work long hours, and many women are effectively forced to work part-time, even those couples who want to share will find it impossible to do so. At the same time, until all men are willing to take on more domestic tasks, so allowing women to take on greater responsibility within the workplace, any hoped-for progress in gender equality is likely to stall.”

Read more at NYMag.

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