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British women are still doing up to 70 minutes more household chores each day than men

Women in the UK spend an average of two hours and 49 minutes cooking, cleaning, doing the dishes and laundry, but men spend only an hour and 39 minutes on similar jobs, according to research. [File image]
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It may come as a surprise to a lot of husbands – but for wives it only confirms what most already know.

A study claims that – even in the 21st century – women are still doing 70 minutes more household chores a day than men.

Women in the UK spend an average of two hours and 49 minutes cooking, cleaning, doing the dishes and laundry.

But men spend only an hour and 39 minutes on similar jobs, according to research.

Women in the UK spend an average of two hours and 49 minutes cooking, cleaning, doing the dishes and laundry, but men spend only an hour and 39 minutes on similar jobs, according to research. [File image]

Women in the UK spend an average of two hours and 49 minutes cooking, cleaning, doing the dishes and laundry, but men spend only an hour and 39 minutes on similar jobs, according to research. [File image]

Scientists analysed more than 200,000 people across ten countries in Europe, Asia and North America for the study in the journal PLOS One.

Dr Joan Garcia Roman, who led the study from the Center of Demographic Studies in Spain, said: ‘When men do less housework than women, it’s a choice, and really men should try to make things more equal.

‘It may be tradition in some countries that women do more domestic chores, but times have changed.’

Women are also shouldering more of the childcare responsibilities, including playing with children and helping them with homework, as well as caring for other adults.

In early adulthood and middle age, between the ages of 30 and 44, women spend an hour and 22 minutes a day on average looking after others, while men spend only 38 minutes in comparison.

The burden of housework and caring responsibilities could explain the abundance of leisure time men have compared to women.

In the UK, they get 45 minutes a day extra watching television, on the internet or doing other screen-based leisure activities compared to women, as well as spending more time on average per day doing active things like tennis and cycling.

Scientists analysed more than 200,000 people across ten countries in Europe, Asia and North America for the study in the journal PLOS One. [File image]

Scientists analysed more than 200,000 people across ten countries in Europe, Asia and North America for the study in the journal PLOS One. [File image]

The researchers also found that on average, the most housework was done by Italian women, who spent four hours a day doing it, although this may reflect the importance of cooking and food in Italian culture.

The least time was spent on housework by women in the US, who spent two hours and 32 minutes a day on average.

The study looked at surveys done between 2005 and 2015.

Men and women recorded how they spent their time over a year, with the results averaged out to provide a snapshot of a typical day.

The biggest differences between the sexes were in women doing more housework and caring for others, while men spent more time doing paid work.

The study authors note that this mismatch could see women suffer financially and from stress.

Men and women got about the same amount of sleep, and time eating meals in the UK.

However, men got 41 minutes a day of active leisure time doing exercise, compared to an average of only 29 minutes for women.

They spent three hours and 19 minutes relaxing in front of a screen, compared to two hours and 34 minutes for women.

The study, which used survey data collected in 2014 for the UK, found the biggest disparities in how men and women spent their time in South Korea, Hungary and Italy.

In South Korea men did an average of only half an hour of housework a day, while men in France did almost two hours.

The battle of the sexes is more equal in the UK, US, Canada and Finland, researchers found.

The results reveal interesting differences between countries, with people in France spending two hours and 15 minutes eating meals, and Italians spending an hour and 45 minutes on average, while men and women in the UK spend less than 90 minutes on mealtimes.

But men in the UK, compared to those in other countries, spent the most time in front of screens, which could increase their risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease.

However there is hope for men, who appear to get better at doing chores as they get older.

The average man in the UK did two hours and 34 minutes a day of housework past the age of 65, compared to only about an hour for those aged 18 to 29.

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