Research shows women do the lion's share of family chores and housework. For many of us, it can feel like we’re going around in circles when it comes to dividing these tasks equally. Which is why WORK180 created a special checklist for you to fill out with your partner, to help divide and distribute the household tasks. WORK180 is an international jobs network that connects smart businesses with talented women. We pre-screen every employer on our jobs board to see where they stand on pay equity, flexible working, paid parental leave, equal opportunities and a range of other criteria.
Why is it important to share household chores?
Whilst WORK180 focus on gender equality at work, it is important to remember work and home are linked, and both dependent on each other. We cannot have equality at work if we don't focus on what happens at home. In heterosexual relationships, Australian women spend between 5 and 14 hours a week doing unpaid domestic housework, with men spending an average of 5 hours a week on housework.
Housework and its associated mental labour have long-term economic consequences, particularly for women’s employment. One avenue to start a conversation about it is by looking at who does what and when at home.
This checklist was originally part of a larger healthcare initiative in Sweden to encourage families to share the care of children and household responsibilities. They found shared domestic work increased women's well-being and decreased stress, meaning women were less likely to take sick leave and miss out on participating in the workforce.
It’s time to share the mental load and other household chores
- Print a copy of the checklist- one for you and one for your partner. Download your checklist here.
- Cross out the tasks which are irrelevant to your situation.
- Is anything missing? Add to the list at the end.
- In the first column after each task, fill in how often you do the job: always, often, sometimes, or never.
- Then, fill in how often you experience your partner doing the same task in the second column.
- Use the third column if another person does the task, such as another family member.
Not sure who does what?
If you are not sure how often you, your partner or someone else completes a task, you can use a set period, say one week, to record this.
Choose a coloured pencil each and draw a vertical line next to the chores you complete. After a while, you can add up the lines for each colour.
This approach also helps if you think you and your partner may have different perceptions of who does what.
Upon completion: compare your tasks
When you have completed the list, compare your results and see if you have a similar idea of how your household chores and childcare responsibilities are distributed.
Some questions you may like to reflect on:
- Do you have different views on how often you or your partner complete a task?
- If your views differ, why do you think that's so?
- Why does the split of tasks look the way it does?
- Do you think that your overall work is even or unevenly divided between you in terms of the time and energy it takes to perform them?
- Are you satisfied with the division of labour and tasks that appears on the list? Is there something you would like to change? What could you do to distribute the jobs differently?
- What do you think your children learn from the way you distribute responsibilities and perform tasks at home?
What about single parents?
Encouraging children to get involved in chores early on is crucial for their development and has many other associated benefits.
Couples can ensure children are involved by assessing the checklist and delegating certain tasks, and single parents can use this to encourage children to help.
WORK180 Co-founder Valeria Ignatieva shared her experiences of raising a son on her own with tips she learned over the years in this article: How to Conquer Delegating Chores to Your Children
Subscribe to our fortnightly Women at Work email to find out about new stories, events and career building resources.
About the author
WORK180 is a jobs board with a difference! We pre-screen employers on paid-parent leave, pay equity, flexible working arrangements and more. Find your dream job here.