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The “Mental-Load”? Men still do the ‘manly jobs’, and women take charge of laundry, even though they think ‘pink and blue’ jobs are outdated, according to new data from Indesit

● Despite 74 per cent believing traditional gendered roles to be totally outdated, six in 10 Brits admit that they and their partner still have ‘set’ chores they each tend to look after, with women feeling they take on the lion’s share

● Brits confess to feeling more pressure to keep up with the housework during the back-to-school period, with 49 per cent of women spending most of their time planning, anticipating and thinking about chores that need to be done, whereas 49 per cent of men are more likely to do tasks ‘that are right in front of them’

● Psychologist Dr Emma Hepburn reveals that due to societal beliefs, women are more likely to tie in their ability to keep on top of household tasks and overall household management into their worth and self-esteem, putting increased pressure on their emotional labour - otherwise known as ‘mental-load’

PETERBOROUGH, August, 2021 – New data, released by Indesit, reveals that men are still in charge of taking out the bins and clearing out the drains while women take charge of the washing up, laundry and cleaning the toilet. While many households try to allocate tasks equally, with six in 10 men feeling that it is evenly split, a large percentage of women (72 per cent) believe that they still bear the brunt of upholding most household chores as opposed to only 35 per cent of men.

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Expert Psychologist Dr Emma Hepburn comments,

 

Gendered expectations, and ingrained beliefs about who does what in the household, are likely to play a role in both the development of behaviours in children and the perpetuation of behaviours in society. Children learn by observing the behaviour of their parents, and with past research showing us that daughters tend to do more chores than sons due to this division of labour along gender lines, it’s important to get the whole family involved in housework and make it fun for children from an early age.

The study of 2,000 people also found that there is an even greater discrepancy with the hidden “emotional labour” associated with household tasks, which includes the planning, thinking about, preparing, anticipating, and keeping track of what needs to be done – so we finally know why women feel they do more around the house! 49 per cent of women report spending more time thinking about chores, whereas men are more likely to carry out a task if it visibly needs to be done (49 per cent), such as washing up a big pile of plates because there are no clean ones left.

 

Dr Emma Hepburn says, “The mental load does tend to fall more to women, and this is a combination of the cognitive load (the thinking and planning) and emotional load (the worrying and anticipation of tasks). The additional worry and cognitive load can lead to exhaustion and could impact on cognitive skills, such as difficulty concentrating, and carving out time for your own wellbeing. This unequal division in the household may cause increased pressure and stress which can lead to tension or arguments.”

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While a quarter of men happily admitted their female partner does the most chores, they also said they spend two hours and 15 minutes a week on things such as the food shop, fixing things, cooking, gardening and cleaning bathrooms – just seven minutes less than women. It was also revealed that both males and females carry out chores four days per week on average. However, women are more likely to take shortcuts with household jobs, along with those in full-time employment, with a greater number confessing they have difficulty relaxing until all the chores are done. This tends to increase, along with the pressure of keeping on top of everything, during the back-to-school period, Christmas and when guests are around. The research also revealed that lack of motivation is a potential barrier to carrying out housework, with 53 per cent of women saying it’s due to lack of time, and 23 per cent of men said they’re less likely to do a task because they know someone else will do it.

Dr Emma Hepburn comments, 

 

“Sharing chores equally in the household is important - allocating tasks is a start, but dividing the mental load more equally is just as important. This might be planning together for what needs done when or allocating specific planning tasks, so that everyone has clarity and ownership. Children are like sponges, so allowing them to witness an equal share in the division of mental and physical chores can be instrumental to the development of their behaviour and beliefs about the household.”

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Charmaine Warner, Brand Manager for Indesit, said, 

 

“Even though ‘pink and blue’ jobs seem like an outdated concept, it does appear that these clichés are still around in our society, without us really noticing. This may simply be out of habit or it could just be a way of dividing up the household chores between people, but it’s great to see that there are some chores which are shared equally between all parties. Doing the tasks together or splitting them equally between the household means that tasks get completed quicker and things become that bit easier.”

The Indesit #DoItTogether campaign encourages chore collaboration at home so that families have more time to spend together doing the things they love. With Indesit’s simple to use Push&Go technology, which has been around for 4 years, everyone in the family can get involved, making household chores that much easier to tackle.

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