Women may be leaning in and climbing corporate ladders, but on the homefront, couples often still divide chores like it's 1965.
Well, some couples, anyway.
It turns out that same-sex couples are much less likely to use traditional standards for allocating chores. A newly released survey by the Families and Work Institute of 225 dual-earner couples found that, for the most part, same-sex couples used "a lot of mixing and matching" to divvy up household duties, said Kenneth Matos, the institute's senior director of research.
While that doesn't mean they share all responsibilities, there are lessons straight couples might learn from the process many same-sex couples use to divvy up household tasks.
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Overall, the study found that same-sex couples tend to share more duties and assign various chores based on personal preference, while straight couples tend to slip back into traditional gender roles, with women, lower earners, and those with fewer work hours, taking primary responsibility for stereotypical female chores.
While the survey, which included 103 same-sex couples and 122 straight couples, found that same-sex couples did not have an "overabundance" of shared responsibilities, it found a greater proportion of same-sex couples do share the laundry, household repair and child care responsibilities than dual-income straight couples do.
In fact, same-sex couples were much more likely to share child care duties, the study found. About 74 percent of the same-sex couples shared routine child care and 62 percent shared sick child care, versus 38 percent of straight couples sharing routine child care and just 32 percent sharing the care of sick children. (Tweet this)
Part of the difference may stem from the fact that same-sex couples have already broken out of the normative family structure, said Matos. Male-female couples "sort of have a template," he said. "There is a lot of going ... really fast into the traditional gender roles and then saying, 'Wait a second, this isn't really where I want to be.' " Same-sex couples, in contrast, have already broken a mold, so they can have "a richness of imagination" when they divide domestic chores.