Earlier this week it was unshockingly revealed that women are taking on most of the household responsibilities during lockdown and that the men they are living with (and cleaning up after, and whose children they are teaching) disagree about this fact. Men, overestimating their own contributions while simultaneously underrecognizing the work women are clearly doing right before their eyes, can you imagine?
Of course you can. Which is why it will come as no surprise that, according to a different poll from LeanIn.org and SurveyMonkey, women who have a partner are doing 71.2 hours of household labor while men are doing only 51.5. And you can add seven more hours of childcare onto that number for single mothers, with 81% reporting they spend three-plus hours a day on housework.
Honestly, I have been shocked and appalled to discover, whilst social-distancing alone in my apartment, just how much mess I am able to create as one single person existing in a space. I’m not entirely convinced there isn’t an invisible person squatting in my apartment generating dirty dishes, smearing avocado on the countertops, depositing random cups on every flat surface they can find, and leaving a trail of breadcrumbs by which I eventually hope to Hansel-and-Gretel-style discover the culprit. Throwing someone else’s mess in the mix, much less a child needing care, and I don’t think I’d have time to do anything but work and clean.
And, as it turns out, many women haven’t found time to do anything but and are suffering as a result. A quarter of the women surveyed have experienced severe anxiety as a result of the extra workload they’ve taken on in addition to their full-time jobs. Only half of respondents reported that their employers have adjusted to allow flexibility with respect to the newfound work, and less than 20% have experienced any meaningful reduction in job-related priorities.
I would recommend that these women, particularly the ones living with partners, just stop doing the work at home and see what happens. Unfortunately, we all already know what would happen, and that is that the work would then just not get done.