Traditional gender divide alive and kicking in relationships across the globe

According to the Ipsos MORI's Global Trends Survey 2014, women in relationships around the world still shoulder the burden of most domestic tasks.

According to the new Global Trends Survey 2014, women in relationships around the world still shoulder the burden of most domestic tasks. Women surveyed across 20 countries report being mostly responsible for the cooking (72%), food shopping (68%) and household cleaning (70%). In Great Britain we don’t stray far from the global norm with seven in ten women in relationships (70%) saying they are mostly responsible for cooking, 70% say they do most of the food shopping and 72% feel they do most of the household cleaning, despite two thirds of British women being in employment.

Men across the world are more likely claim to have the final say on buying a vehicle (26%, compared to 10% of women) and most likely to be responsible for maintenance/fixing things (61%). However, when it comes to taking out the bins, a role many in the west might see as traditionally male, there is a narrowing of the gap, with 43% of men saying it is mostly them, compared to 31% of women. Almost a third of men (35%) and women in relationships (32%) globally say that this task is shared equally with their partner. Meanwhile, the British seem to maintain this tradition with men more than twice as likely to take out the bins most of the time (men 56%, women 25%).

Globally, equality is becoming the norm in relation to parenting, at least based on what both sexes say, with 62% of men and 51% of women saying that they share decision making about parenting with their partner. In Great Britain this figure rises to 74% of men and 71% of women. But when it comes to keeping children clothed, it falls to women, with nearly two thirds of women (72%) across the countries surveyed saying they have final or primary say over clothing their children. Just 16% of men surveyed felt they had primary or final say in their children’s clothes.

Hannah Millard, Head of PR, Ipsos MORI, says:

“More women are entering the job market and yet our survey finds those in relationships saying they continue to take responsibility for many of the traditional roles they held as housewives and mothers. Over two thirds of British women feel they still do most of the cooking and cleaning in the home, as well as sharing the job of parenting children with their partner. Meanwhile, British men continue to take out the bins (56% compared with 25% of women) and carry out household maintenance (70% of men claim it is mostly them, compared to 13% of women). “These findings may or may not accord with household realities but they come at a time when our Global Trends Survey has otherwise shown commitment particularly in the west (less so in the east), to the notion that women ought to be seen as more than mothers and wives”


Technical note

  • The survey was conducted in 20 countries via the Ipsos Online Panel with a total sample of 16,039 adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and age 16-64 in all other countries. Approximately 1000+ individuals were surveyed in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, Great Britain and the United States of America. Approximately 500+ individuals were surveyed in Argentina, Belgium, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey. The survey was undertaken between September 3rd and September 17th, 2013. In developed countries where internet access is high, this can be taken as representative of the general working age population. However, in developing nations the results should be viewed as representative of a more affluent and “connected” population.
  • Where results do not sum to 100, this may be due to computer rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not stated responses.
  • Data are weighted to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to the most recent country Census data, and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

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