The assumption that single mothers would be burdened with more housework has been dispelled by new research that found married women spend on average 2.95 hours a day on housework, compared to 2.41 hours for unmarried women.
This data was taken from more than 20,000 mothers between the years 2003 and 2012 and was controlled for differences in employment, education, race, and number of children or other extended family members at home.
The sociologists who conducted the research from University of Maryland, University of Texas and University of Southern California, say that married mothers are more likely to “perform gender” in relationships. Conversely, single mothers may be less plagued by gender expectations to perform household duties.
Additionally, married women tend to spend 10 minutes less per day on leisure activities, and get 13 minutes less sleep. Never-married and cohabiting mothers reported more total more leisure time than married mothers.
“These findings are consistent with the gender perspective’s theoretical predictions that
married mothers have less time for sleep and leisure in part because “doing gender”
leads partnered women to prioritize housework and childcare over leisure and sleep,” the authors write.
These numbers are consistent whether the married woman works full-time, part-time or is a stay-at-home mother. It’s clear that an increased economic contribution to the household does not relieve married women of the housework burden.
“The research is really showing that men are not necessarily contributing in ways that are bringing about equality in the home,” author Joanna Pepin from the University of Texas told Fortune.
The research also indicates that children do more housework when they live with a single mother compared to a married mother and father.