Pay gap

I grew up in a house where we all got the same allowance (when we got one at all), so I have no personal experience with this. But damn!

Gender as an organizing principle for how we value labor appears to have depressingly early, yet unsurprising, roots.  Boys, on average, spend two fewer hours doing household chores per week than girls do (they play two hours more). And if they live in households where children are compensated for doing chores, boys make and save more money.  Year after year, studies repeatedly confirm these patterns. The problems women face with unequal pay and housework duties actually start in childhood.

A 2009 study conducted by University of Michigan economists found a two-hour gender disparity in responsibilities per week in a study of 3,000 kids. That same year,  Highlights magazine, a children’s publication, surveyed its readers and found that 75 percent of girls had chores, while just 65 percent of boys did.  This disparity in chores and free time continues into adulthood all over the world.   According to the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), men “report spending more time in activities counted as leisure than women. Gender differences in leisure time are wide across OECD countries.”

The fact that boys’ chores appear to be more profitable makes the childhood chore gap even more disturbing. Turns out, parents tend to value the work that boys typically do more highly than the work girls do. A website that helps parents teach children how to earn, spend and save responsibly, pktmny, found “significant divides based on gender, age and the nature of the task being undertaken by each child,” according to Louise Hill, COO of the company.  For example, mowing the lawn generally garners higher allowance wages than folding laundry. Shoveling a snow-covered driveway might yield more cash in hand than emptying the dishwasher.

4 thoughts on “Pay gap

  1. On a personal note. Re: Hillary and the gender issue. Hillary shamelessly exploits the fact that she’s a woman. We should elect Hillary just because she’s a woman? Hillary thinks so. It would be historic Hillary tells us. Forget about the facts. Re: Egypt. ??????????????

  2. “For example, mowing the lawn generally garners higher allowance wages than folding laundry. Shoveling a snow-covered driveway might yield more cash in hand than emptying the dishwasher.”

    Well, duh! Because those “girl” chores are easy and you don’t have to go outside in the freezing cold or hot summer sun to do them. In my house I think we got our 5 cent allowances a few times ever. But the boys all had to do KP and laundry and all the other “girl” chores because “women’s lib” (yes, that’s what the girls would shout, back in the day), but the girls never had to do any “boy” chores. Maybe those girls don’t get that money because they refuse to do that nasty work.

    As far as money went, the boys in our house only had more of it because we got hounded out of the house to get paper routes and summer jobs, while the girls only ever did babysitting.

  3. What kind of family did YOU grow up in that kids got to decide their chores? You think scrubbing toilets, floors and bathtubs is “easier” than mowing the lawn? How about collecting all the dirty laundry, separating it, washing it, hanging on a line, taking it down, folding it and delivering it? Or washing all the baseboards and window frames in the entire house, or vacuuming? We all took turns doing dishes (we didn’t have dishwashers). My dad used to have me help him with home repairs, too, because my brothers would sneak out of the house so they didn’t have to. My brothers took out the ashes from our coal furnace and put the trash out. They also mowed our lawn, which was about 6X6. And everyone in my family got jobs when they were 12. ALL of us shoveled snow for money. We babysat until we were 15, because that’s how old you had to be to get working papers.

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