We mentioned last week the tendency cited by sociology professor Renata Forste that Americans tend to have to devalue housework- it’s women’s work and therefore not difficult. What effect has assumption had? She cited a quote from Hanover Sociology professor Robin Ryle: “One of the most important end results of the doctrine of separate spheres was the creation of not just a difference in how we think about what men and women do but also a hierarchy in how those tasks are valued.”
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According to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, both mom and dad work full time in close to half of two-parent American families, However, does equal time at home mean equal time doing housework?FHSSSociologyprofessor Dr. Renata Forste will answer the question of “women’s work and the gendered division of housework” at an upcoming lecture. With regards to the importance of addressing this topic, she says: “it is because we live in a complex world where economic opportunities are constantly changing and I think that young couples need a broader set of skills in order to manage family and work life in today’s labor market.”
The Virginia F. Cutler Lecture will be held on February 23 at 7pm in room 250 of the Spencer W. Kimball Tower. Student parking is available in nearby Y lots. Visitor parking is available just east of the Wilkinson Center (enter from 900 East).
What is the Difference?
Statistics show, in fact, that while men are assuming more household responsibilities these days, the bulk of the responsibility generally falls on the woman in a two-parent family. The 2015 American Time Use Survey, for instance, found that: “on an average day, 85 percent of women and 67 percent of men spent some time doing household activities such as housework, cooking, lawn care, or financial and other household management. On the days they did household activities, women spent an average of 2.6 hours on such activities, while men spent 2.1 hours. On an average day, 22 percent of men did housework–such as cleaning or laundry–compared with 50 percent of women. Forty-three percent of men did food preparation or cleanup, compared with 70 percent of women. Men were slightly more likely to engage in lawn and garden care than were women–12 percent compared with 8 percent.”
One may be tempted to ask, looking at these data, whether women are just structured for housework? The answer, of course, is more complicated than that. Reporter Bryce Covert says no, “…there’s no biological determinant for housework. No gender is physically predisposed to want to do the dishes or take out the trash.” Dr. Forste’s lecture, then, will be timely. “I hope that it will get young people thinking about family roles, both economic and domestic – and about the tools or skills they should develop to have a successful family life given the uncertainties and complexities of the future. I hope they begin to see family work as ‘work’, not divided by gender.”
Virginia F. Cutler
This lecture is part of a series of annual presentations dedicated to the memory of Virginia Farrer Cutler, whospent her entire life educating people on the home and family. While she served as the University of Utah’s Head of the Home Economics Department, she founded their Family Home Living Center. She later went on to become the dean of BYU’s College of Family living, now known as the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences.
Throughout her lifetime, Dr. Cutler served in many capacities and received a plethora of awards. These include: “United States delegate to the World Forum on Women, Brussels, 1962,” “appointed by President Nixon to the Consumer Advisory Council, 1972-1975,” “Utah Mother of the year, 1972,” and “distinguished service awards from the University of Utah and Cornell University.”