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Majority of housework done by women in Australia: Survey

Source: Getty Images

One can improve gender equality at home by splitting up the chores.

Is Australia Sexist? Do we treat men and women equally in Australia? 

That is what SBS And Macquarie University set out to find and now this landmark survey on gender equality has found 44% of Australian women have experienced gender inequality, with the figure highest for 18 to 25-year-old women (60%).

Within our own households, 86% of women said they do the majority of the housework while 73% of men in the survey stated they were the primary breadwinners.

72% of Australians believe gender discrimination exists in Australia today and 65% agreed that more needs to be done to address gender inequality.

Macquarie University's Professor Catherine Lumby who co-supervised the study says the results don't surprise her but should alert the nation.

"I think it's a huge wake-up call. I think we still live in a society where most women feel hesitant about talking about the impact on a daily basis that gender discrimination has on them. Let's be clear, that includes being catcalled on the streets. It includes being less confident in applying for a raise in male-dominant workplaces."

How equal is your household?

‘Split it up’

One can improve gender equality at home by splitting up the chores.

Keep a diary or a task list of house chores and divide it equally or do it together, wherever possible. If she puts the clothes on the line, he can fold it and put it away. If he chops the vegetables and meat, she can cook. If she loads the dishwasher, he can empty it.

If one does the school run every day, let the other do the grocery shopping and weekend activities run. 

Indian couple

Dr Leah Ruppanner, a senior lecturer in sociology at The University of Melbourne told SBS LIFE committing to an equal division of housework during life’s big changes will help.

“When you move in with your partner or when you have a baby or any of these critical life junctures – but particularly when you move in with your spouse – don’t play house,” she says.

“Don’t bring him breakfast in bed or really make the house feel like a home for this union, because what happens is the allocation of housework at the beginning of the relationship sticks over time. So if you start out with inequality, you're going to have inequality over the duration of the relationship.”

Dr Ruppanner adds that not penalising women for messy homes or men for not doing as good a job as women will help to ease the domestic burden of housework.

“It's not like it's actually that hard to figure out how to clean a toilet or wipe down a bench.”

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SBS tackles the question: Is Australia Sexist? in a new documentary hosted by Yumi Stynes which premieres 4 December, 8.40pm on SBS.