Separation of Household Duties

I have read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. I have read many feminist, pro-work articles and publications. I went to a women’s college. And I have always felt that there will be NO way for women to succeed if she doesn’t have a spouse at home doing housework. I created a chart in which I try to explain this. I used a stereotypical men/women paradigm though many other partnerships are possible. In the 20th century, the typical arrangement was for the woman to do 100% of the housework and the man to do none. But if, in the 21st century, women are to join the workforce at the level of CEO, then each woman must do less at home. There are simply not enough hours in a day to put in an 80+ hour work week AND have dinner on the table at 5.


Thanks to the invention of machines, the household chores take less time than they used to. This allows a family unit to do less chores overall. But, the dishwasher will not fill itself. Sometimes a family with two working parents will supplement their resources by hiring help:


While fascinating, there is no big reveal in this information to me. There’s no need for these I’m-totally-telling-you-something-you-don’t-already-know articles, like this one from the Huffington Post. It’s obvious. The floors still need to be swept, and someone still needs to clean the dead leaves out of the gutter. If mom doesn’t do it, then someone else needs to. End of story.

Or not? I was in a conversation where an older woman said,

“We fought for equal rights so women today would have the choice. We just didn’t expect so many of them to choose wrong.”

Anne-Marie Slaughter makes an excellent point in her Huffington Post article. If we want women to choose to be female CEOs then we also need a society that produces more women with stay-at-home spouses. Because some tasks can’t (shouldn’t?) be outsourced.

About Samantha from SocialMath

Applied Mathematician and writer of
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