Where you stash your wealth and how you clean your carpets may seem like two widely unrelated things. A new study from Lancaster University says they aren’t though, at least if you live in the UK.
Statistics could be different in North America, but get this. In the United Kingdom less than 12% of working-age women, (meaning women aged 20 to 59), keep their earnings in their own bank account.
But when it comes to families and couples, just 23% of women manage household finances. Only about 15% have ultimate control of financial decisions in the family.
How does this play out when it comes to chores?
Researchers say that when cash is not in women’s hands, men use their own buying power to negotiate their way out of household work.
The study analysed data from more than 6,000 heterosexual couples, aged 20 to 59, from the UK Household Longitudinal Survey (Understanding Society).
It was found that men hold the purse strings. And they avoid contributing at home in a few ways.
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One type of man hands money over to their spouse as an exchange to get out of housework. Their spouse handles the household money, but she does all the vacuuming.
The second type of man keeps the household income in their own hands. They then bargain their way out of housework by handing over bits of cash at a time. Nice.
What do the experts have to say about it?
Obviously not every family operates in the same way. With inequalities in wages between men and women though, and a glass ceiling in the UK’s labor market that’s different for women, females are “unlikely to win the ‘war’ over housework by ‘exchanging’ and ‘bargaining’ with men”, they say.
“Our research provides further evidence to show that despite women’s participation in education and the labour market, this still has not yet translated into gender equality in housework at home,” said Dr Hu.
“If men still monopolise the management of household finances and financial decisions, then things are unlikely to change,” Dr Hu continued. “It’s therefore important for everyone to be able to access their own earnings.”
There it is.