Listen up, ladies. If there’s any health advice you’re going to take today, let this be it: stop doing so much housework.
A recent study by Australian National University found that people should only being working 39 hours a week. This includes the amount of time you work at your job and all of the time you spend on household chores.
“Long work hours erode a person’s mental and physical health, because it leaves less time to eat well and look after themselves properly,” says the study’s lead researcher, Dr Huong Dinh.
The study found that women have a greater tendency to overwork themselves because they pick up more of the domestic chores at home. “Given the extra demands placed on women, it’s impossible for women to work long hours often expected by employers unless they compromise their health,” she says.
Canadian Women are Working Unhealthy Hours
In Canada, 73 percent of women work full-time jobs, which means they’re working 30 paid hours a week or more.
Meanwhile, the average Canadian woman spend 14 hours a week on housework, or home and yard maintenance, according to a 2011 study by Stats Canada.
In total, the average Canadian woman is working at least 44 hours per week. This is five hours more than what’s recommended for optimal physical and mental health, according to Australian National University’s findings.
Keep in mind that these stats don’t include the amount of time spent on childcare. Childcare statistics from Stats Canada show that Canadian women still spend 50 percent more time taking care of kids (50.1 hours per week) than Canadian men (24.4 hours a week).
Past studies have also found a link between a woman’s heart problems and the amount of childcare and housework she does. This is especially noteworthy given that heart disease and stroke is the leading cause of death for Canadian women.
Why Do Women Do Most of the Work?
A recent study conducted by the University of Essex and Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich might have the answer.
“In the presence of a marital hold-up (bargaining power) problem, a woman’s tendency to be more agreeable and less antagonistic may mean they end up investing more in housework, even if this not economically the best choice for them,” the study found.
The study’s researchers found that even when couples agreed to split chores equally, women still pick up more of the household duties. Women tend to justify the imbalance, saying that he doesn’t do the task well, or that he has a more demanding job, the study’s authors explain.
Do Fewer Chores to Save Your Relationship
It’s not only your health that will improve from taking on fewer tasks. Splitting household chores will also benefit your relationship in the long run.
Seventy-three percent of married women who cheat on their husbands complain that their spouse doesn’t do enough chores at home, according to a 2016 survey by Gleeden, a popular dating site for married people in France.
If your partner still needs convincing, gently remind him that experts say a messy bedroom is enough to kill a woman’s sex drive.
Being healthier, doing less housework, having more sex, while still having a cleaner home? Now that’s what all women really want.