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Why That New ‘Men Work More Than Women’ Statistic Is Problematic

The U.S. Department of Labor recently released The American Time Use Survey (ATUS), an annual report that looks at the average amount of time per day people spent on their jobs, their families, and themselves. The finding that led to the juiciest headlines was this: Men “work” 42 minutes more per day than women, which begs the obvious question: Is Department Of Labor divorced?

As you might expect, there’s more to that number than a juicy headline can explain (and, if you didn’t expect that, then expect your wife to be pissed). For starters, the report found that 85 percent of women spent time doing household activities like cooking, cleaning, lawn care, or managing finances, compared to 67 percent of men. When they took part in these activities, women devoted about 2.6 hours per day, whereas men spent up 2.1 hours. Only 43 percent of men participated in food prep and cleanup, while 70 percent of women were dealing with the drama that is dinner time. For parents of children under 6, women spent one hour on physical care, such as bathing or feeding, but men gave up a mere 25 minutes. So, congratulations on your 42 extra minutes of “paying the bills”; your wife is still putting in more total hours, day in and day out.

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Don’t tell your wife, but you had more leisure time than her as well — 5.8 hours versus her 5.1 hours. Before you put yourself in the doghouse, it’s important to note that the data was obtained through self-reporting and could be slightly subjective. Still, instead of telling her that, you’re much better off just saying thank you.

[H/T] Jezebel