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Traditional Gender Roles Still Alive And Well In Canada

Canadian Women Are Still Doing Way More Housework Than Men
B2M Productions via Getty Images

We might be one of the top 20 countries in the world for mothers, and even one of the best countries in the world to be a woman, but when it comes to taking care of our homes, Canadian women are getting the short end of the stick.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development "Better Life Index," released this week, Canadian women on average spend 254 minutes a day cooking, cleaning or caring (for children, we assume), whereas men spend 160 minutes on the same tasks.

The section of the OECD report, which is entitled "Work-Life Balance" points out that Canadian men surpass the OECD average of 141 minutes per day, and that they tend to fall into the "work very long hours" category more often than women (four per cent more often, to be exact). The report also notes that 75 per cent of men are employed outside the home, vs. 69 per cent of women.

The information comes on the heels of other articles finding a rising number of female breadwinners in families, according to Maclean's, as well as stories about "alternative" arrangements in which fathers stay home with the children, instead of mothers.

But the statistics and cultural norms are telling a different story. According to a joint study from University of Toronto and Long Island University, childcare in particular is still viewed as "women's work," and men who help significantly with it or take time off for parental leave may be discriminated against in their jobs more than a woman.

Meanwhile, one study published in the American Sociological Review (with, it must be noted, two decade-old data) said men who do more chores around the house have less sex.

While we're not convinced marriages and partnerships that divide tasks equally aren't what we should all be striving for, there are circumstances in which it makes sense — say, when one partner is better than the other at cooking.

What do you think? Should men and women be doing an equal amount of housework, or does it make sense for one person to do more?

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