The Laundry Gender Gap


               Times are changing, and mostly for the better. Education and employment prospects for women have been on the rise in recent decades. Recent struggles for bridging the gender pay gap are being taken seriously and have gained widespread support and momentum. Cases of harassment and assault have been brought to the forefront of the public eye with the recent #metoo movement. Still, despite so many changes, we have many more things that stay the same. Women, on average, complete a disproportionate amount of the household chores. Laundry is no exception. This is one antiquated gender role that needs to be changed!

               Studies show that women complete 80% of all household chores. The numbers are even higher when singling out for laundry, where women complete an average of 92% for the household. So why are these numbers so skewed? Why are men not completing their fair share? One of the most prevalent arguments is that many women are stay-at-home moms while the husband is in the workforce. While this would seem like a more equitable exchange, the data tells a different story. According to labor statistics numbers from 2019, 56% of households had both women and men employed. 23% of households had just the man employed, while 18% of households had just the woman employed. So what happens when we take that 92% and account for each demographic? Surprisingly, very little.

               As would be expected, woman in households where just the man works bear the bulk of household laundry work at 97%. Shockingly, that figure only drops to 88% for the households where both women and men are employed. Keep in mind that these statistics represent FULL TIME work for both male and female. This does not include the part time work many women pick up to supplement the household income. But this doesn’t end there. Households where just the WOMAN is employed complete 81% of the household laundry. Let me say that one more time so it sinks in. FULL TIME working mom, who comes home and has over 80% of the laundry waiting for her! These numbers don’t shift much when including the many other household chores. 

               There are plenty of husbands out there who contribute plenty, and this is obviously not an all-inclusive article. But the numbers never lie. Men, husbands, fathers need to step it up and start bringing laundry, and all household chores for that matter, into the 21st century. Traditional gender roles are fading fast, and long overdue. Even if men can’t bring themselves to throw a few loads in the wash, they can at least pay for some backup. Not everyone can afford a maid, but there are plenty of laundry service apps out there. Pick up the laundry or pick up your phone and get it done! Either way, she’ll be happy!

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