chapter  17
10 Pages

Household chores

The “everything” that women did for themselves undeniably included household chores. The notion of the double burden that most women carried, which combined paid work with being solely responsible for domestic chores and child rearing, has been well recognized and studied by historians. For rural women the burden was triple, adding work on a garden plot to other responsibilities. But much of the work done by women was never fully appreciated or even recognized. While an average income and wages for women were comparable to average wages for men, everything in the domestic sphere was considered to be “a woman’s work” regardless of whether this woman had a full-time job or not. Even women in highly-paid professions with advanced degrees spent on average twice as much time doing their household duties as their husbands. In addition, the amount of help offered by a man was, and continues to be, considered a personal choice-or in other words, if a woman got no help at all, it was her own problem.1 Moreover, social studies have demonstrated that married men intentionally used women’s unaccounted work around the house to relegate all domestic responsibilities to their wives for the sake of having greater control of their own time and better careers.2