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Kiwis Come Clean About Who’s Doing The Housework

9th May 2006

Kiwis Come Clean About Who’s Doing The Housework

- Bissell Housework Habits Survey dishes up the dirt on who is the worst spouse around the house -

Is housework – more specifically who is and isn’t pulling their weight - ruining domestic bliss?
A new national survey has shown that the topic of housework is causing arguments in 40% of New Zealand homes.

Auckland males are most likely to argue over who is or isn’t pulling their weight with housework causing arguments in almost half Auckland homes (48%), while in Wellington and Christchurch these same arguments are ruining the peace in one in every three homes (33% and 31% respectively).

While three quarters of female respondents said they’d like the man about the house to contribute more to the housework, a mere 37% of males felt they should be doing more of the household cleaning.

The TNS survey, sponsored by floor care company Bissell, looked at the housework and cleaning habits of over 1,000 New Zealanders (434 males and 608 females) over the age of 15. And it has dished up some dirt, showing that regardless of how far women have come in the boardroom, they are still bearing the brunt when it comes to the housework.

Women claimed they spent an average of 14 ½ hours each week cleaning. Almost two thirds (64%) of the women said they do the vast majority of housework, while a further quarter (24%) said other household members will help them out. Just 8% of women said they have someone else in the house that does the majority of cleaning while 4% are lucky enough to have a cleaner who does most of the cleaning.

Bissell general manager, Andrew Higgs, said the findings certainly make interesting reading. “We know the vital role that mums play in holding the family together, with many juggling motherhood with a career while making sure everything’s running smoothly on the home front. So with Mother’s Day approaching it’s a good time for kids, partners and spouses to lighten the load and give her a break.”

The survey results show that the pressure is still on to maintain a clean and tidy home, with over two thirds (69%) of Kiwi men liking the house to be clean and tidy most or all of the time. Despite these high standards, more than one in three men (36%) admits they leave the housework to someone else.

According to the men who aren’t involved with any housework, their number one excuse is because they do other jobs around the house instead of cleaning - 42% of males who aren’t pulling their weight listed this as a reason. Amongst women who think men should contribute more to housework, this was also the number one reason given as to why the men weren’t lifting their weight, but to a much lesser degree with just a quarter (26%) of women saying this.

Following closely behind this as the number two reason why women believe their men aren’t helping out around the home is because they “just couldn’t be bothered” with 22% of all female respondents saying this. In Wellington this was the number one reason given, with a third of the woman surveyed (33%) saying it was because he couldn’t be bothered - compared with 27% in Auckland and only 15% in Christchurch.

Not surprisingly, the males are less likely to claim laziness as the reason why they aren’t pulling their weight with only 8% of the males who don’t clean saying it is because they can’t be bothered. Quite the opposite in fact - with busyness rated as the number two reason men gave as to why they aren’t helping out around the house. One in five males who don’t contribute to the household cleaning said it’s because they aren’t home enough.

When it comes to the least favourite cleaning chore - men will try to avoid cleaning the bathroom the most, followed by washing the windows, the dishes, vacuuming and doing the laundry. Not surprisingly, the chore men mind the least is putting out the rubbish – reinforcing the traditional ‘blue and pink’ job divide.

For the females of the house, washing the windows rates as least favourite chore, followed by cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, washing the dishes and mopping the floors. Making the bed was the chore they minded the least.

Laundry takes up the most time for women with an average 3.01 hours per week spent laundering our clothes. Washing or mopping the floor swallowed 2.89 hours of time each week for the ladies followed by cleaning the kitchen (2.62 hours), general tidying up (2.21 hours), vacuuming (1.52 hours) cleaning the bathroom (1.19 hours) and washing the dishes (1.03 hours).

The Bissell Kiwi Housework Habits Survey was a TNS Online Omnibus survey of 1042 New Zealanders (434 males and 608 females) aged 15+ with quotas on age, gender and area to ensure a representative sample. Questions were asked of both males and females in relation to their cleaning habits.

The Great Regional divide:

• Cantabrian men were the fussiest with the highest number saying they expect the house clean and tidy all of the time (29% vs 21% of Auckland males and 20% of Wellington males [22% nationally]). However they were the least likely to pull their weight with only 14% saying they do a lot of the cleaning (vs 21% in Auckland and 23% in Wellington [21% nationally])

• Aucklander males are most likely to argue over who is or isn’t pulling their weight with housework causing arguments in almost half Auckland homes (48%) compared with Wellington (33%) and Christchurch (31%). Nationally housework caused arguments in 40% of NZ homes.

• In Wellington the number one reason women gave as to why the males weren’t helping out was “he just couldn’t be bothered” with a third of all Wellingtonian women saying this (compared to a national figure of 22%, 27% in Auckland and just 15% in Christchurch).

• Wellington men, who either share the cleaning or leave it entirely to someone else, were the least likely to feel guilty about not pulling their weight with just 22% saying they felt they should do more of the household cleaning (compared to 42% in Auckland and 49% of men in Christchurch who felt they should help out more). Nationally, 37% of Kiwi men felt they should help out more.


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