More on the Recession

As you can tell, the economy’s on my mind these days (is there anyone out there who’s not thinking about it?). Today’s New York Times had a fascinating piece on how layoffs are affecting the percentage of women in the workforce, concluding that women’s workforce particpation may well surpass men’s if current trends in layoffs hold.

For me, though, the kicker was the discussion of the sexual division of labor in regard to housework. According to the Times:
“While women appear to be sole breadwinners in greater numbers, they are likely to remain responsible for most domestic responsibilities at home.

On average, employed women devote much more time to child care and housework than employed men do, according to recent data from the government’s American Time Use Survey analyzed by two economists, Alan B. Krueger and Andreas Mueller.

When women are unemployed and looking for a job, the time they spend daily taking care of children nearly doubles. Unemployed men’s child care duties, by contrast, are virtually identical to those of their working counterparts, and they instead spend more time sleeping, watching TV and looking for a job, along with other domestic activities.”

That just floored me — so women whose male partners are unemployed now not only have to shoulder the burden of being the sole breadwinner, they also have to continue to do the bulk of the housework (or more actually, as someone who’s home more often tends to dirty the house more). On what planet could that be considered fair? Readers, how do you deal with dividing household chores? If you’re in a relationship and one of you has been laid off, did you change the way you do things? Do you think your division is fair?


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