Have you thanked your vacuum cleaner yet today? (Don't. It's an inanimate object and its lack of response will leave you feeling nothing but rejected. P.S. I think my dishwasher is mad at me.) Perhaps you should (but, really, don't) because it's largely in part to the vacuum cleaner and other household appliances that you are on your way to making partner at Cage & Fish right now as opposed to being stuck at home cleaning like the women of the past.
A recent study by UK energy supplier npower has revealed that today's women, on average, spend 18.2 hours on housework a week. This is a huge downward jump from 50 years ago when women were spending upwards of 44 hours a week on cleaning, grocery shopping and cooking. npower attributes the change to advancements in domestic technology (such as microwaves, vacuums and dishwashers) that have given women more time to pursue careers outside of the home. Clare Balding, a British sports presenter, agrees with npower's reasoning, telling the Telegraph, "Gadgets are usually seen as the preserve of men and everyone talks about the invention of the telephone, computer and TV –- which are important but the creation of these domestic appliances, powered by energy, have been more essential in the grand scheme of things. These gadgets did more to free up women to live their lives and go to work –- then the iPhone and the iPad –- as I sit here with both."
Of course, plenty of other things have changed since the 1960s. Women get married later/less frequently and people are more likely to opt out of having children, which means there's less of a mess to clean up and fewer Don Drapers who expect us to clean it. Additionally, as mentioned by the study, even women with children and spouses have moved from the home and into the workplace, whether it be by choice or the financial constraints of a single income household. But does innovation spur progress or does progress spur innovation? More than likely, it's a little bit of both.
The shitty thing is that on average, women still do more housework than their male counterparts. So, yes, men should really start carrying their weight, but, also, science should probably get to work on making us some robot maids.