Remember that chaotic 2016 census?
The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) analysed some of the data eventually collected and found that, on average, women do around 14 hours of chores around the house per week while men do less than five.
This is true despite the increasing number of women who work full-time and those who are the breadwinners for their household.
AIFS Senior Research Fellow Dr Jennifer Baxter said their findings have revealed that “women still do a significant amount of domestic work around the house in families with a stay-at-home father.”
The study defined a father as “stay at home” if he has children aged under 15 years living with him, he is not working, and he has a spouse or partner who is working some hours.
In households where the mother is in full-time employment and the father stays at home “dads spent an average of 19 hours a week on childcare, while mothers spent 21 hours” she said.
In addition, these fathers spend 28 hours each week doing housework. The mothers of the same households did an average of 23 hours “which they managed to combine with an average 35-hour working week paid job”.
The study revealed that men who stay at home “do take on more responsibility for child care than fathers in other family types, but, said Ms Baxter, “the average stay-at-home dad is still far from being ‘Mr Mum’”.
When both parents work, fathers do an average of 15 hours of housework and 12 hours of childcare per week. They also do around 50 hours each week for their job. The mothers in those households do fewer hours of work for their employer, coming in at around 31 hours a week but they do more around the house, with 26 hours of chores and 23 hours of childcare. So in those households, women do an average of 80 hours work per week compared to men who do 77 hours in total.
When a couple separates, the main breadwinner often presents as resentful of having ‘earned all the money’ while the other person stayed at home and didn’t earn. In days gone by, it was typically the woman who was the homemaker and when the couple divided up their assets, she was not always adequately compensated for her supporting role in the relationship.
These days, the Family Court places significant value on the role of the person who takes on the majority of the parental care and household and supports the main breadwinner in their career. The contribution is considered as a non-financial contribution and is one of the main factors the Court takes into consideration when ruling on property matters.
In the old model, more often than not, the children continued to stay with the mother. Just as the role of the homemaker has been recognised, so has the importance of shared parenting and it is now far more common for children to spend equal time living with each of their parents when they separate.
While this is a broad outline of how a Court values housework and childcare by either partner in a marriage (or defacto relationship), at Divorce Resource, we feel there are significant advantages for separating couples to acknowledge the value of each person’s contribution to the family and to resolve their issues through mediation instead of going to court.