Ladies, it's time to take up the new symbol of gender equality: the remote control. According to a new poll from the Pew Research Center, in 43 percent of couples, women make more household decisions, while men take the lead 26% of the time and the other 31% make decisions together. The Washington Post has excitedly declared that "nowhere is that equity greater than in front of the household television" with 27% of couples reporting that women control the remote; 26% saying that men do; and 25% doing so together. More men being subjected to Project Runway may seem like a small step, but researchers say that these small changes in everyday life are indicative of a larger social shift in the last generation.The survey's authors talked to 1,260 people who were married or living together as couples about their decision making in four areas: planning weekend activities, household finances, major home purchases and TV watching. "Across all decision-making realms, it tilts to the woman,"says Rich Morin, lead author of the study, who says she was surprised by the percentage of men who made no decisions in any of the areas and were just bystanders. The survey finds there is disagreement about who actually controls household finances. Forty-five percent of women say they manage the family's money, but only 30 percent of the men admit that their wives control the finances. Thirty seven percent of men say they are the sole financial decision maker, and 28 percent say they made decisions jointly. Despite this discrepancy, Andrew Cherlin, a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University, claims the rise in shared decision-making is a big step. "I think that's a big change from 50 years ago," Cherlin says. Back then, he says, "some wives didn't even know what their husbands were making." He finds it less surprising that women are taking charge of weekend activities and major household purchases, which are related to home life. The fact that 31 percent of couples share decision making is even more impressive considering that couples were not given that choice during the survey; they all volunteered it. And it seems that men are not opposed to sharing decision making with their wives, or letting their wives call the shots, with 80 percent of the couples reporting that they are happy with their family situation and its dynamics. Women Are Gaining Ground In Family Decision Making [The Washington Post] Women Rule The Roost, And That's OK With Men [USA Today]
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