Over the past 100 years women have campaigned for equality and the right to be in control of their own choices. We now work and are often breadwinners. We can vote, own property, go to University, enjoy being single and control our reproductive cycle, to name a few.
So, whilst we have been spearheading a revolution and learning how to balance the old with the new what have men been doing? Very little according to recent research out this month. Men admit there are still lots of skills they lack such as cooking, cleaning, ironing, shopping, organising social calendars, remembering birthdays and anniversaries, choosing presents for said celebrations and in the same survey most admit to not being able to dance!
Personally, the dancing bit worries me not! I have my girlfriends to do this with, but the rest is a tad disappointing. OK, OK we say ,atleast they take responsibility for the traditionally male stuff like DIY but again, according to research the modern man is not particularly great at this anymore neither. Assembling an IKEA chair can flummox the best of them and injuries are rife!
Now, I know any research is simply a snapshot but I am convinced this is a microcosm of the bigger picture. Am I being unfair?
The fact is men see no reason to change, the status quo works for them on so many levels. At work and at home, they don’t want change or equality, they already perceive they have it! And subconsciously they don’t want YOU to have it cos this means they will have to share their toys and open the door to their macho world and this could be disastrous for them – arrrgh!
Leaving the world of work to one side as I have talked about that quite a bit recently my conversations with thousands of women over the past 10 years confirm the division of household labour is not close to equal and I have come to the conclusion that men over the age of 30 definitley have domestic dyslexia and it’s not going away any time soon!
It seems to me the more we do, the less they do, so are we to blame for this situation?
The more we control, the easier it is for them to opt out; the tighter we hone our perfectionist mentality, the easier it is for them to fail. We must burn our well worn superwoman cape, it no longer serves us, it has become a straight jacket. I also worry about the lessons we are passing onto our sons. My experience of boys is limited. However, I have not met one yet that believes running a home is a joint responsibility, it’s perceived and verbalised as women’s work. My nephew of 16 (raised by a single Dad and a parade of girlfriends) cannot work a washing machine, dishwasher or hoover. He does not possess any basic kitchen skills like chopping an onion or peeling a potato; he expects clothes to simply jump from the floor to the washing machine, slide under an iron and arrive back in his drawer like magic and the look of utter contempt he gives me when I ask him to lend a hand…. (as this attitude does not go down well in my home) you would think I had just asked him to put on lipstick, a frilly apron and pop into Starbucks for a skinny latte!
Humour aside, this is bad news for women and the next generation of smart girls. We may be too late to shift the attitudes of our husbands but please let’s not pass on these habits to the next generation. As a minimum boys should understand the basics of self sufficiency. Without some domestic savvy and an understanding that playing house is a game for two we are simply handing our lazy and Neanderthal boys to the next women – his wife and it will not end well!
Equality will remain a ‘nice to have’ unless we pro-actively raise both girls AND boys to be responsible, aspirational and self sufficient.


  1. Vanessa Glover

    Jane, I am very pleased to report that my son shares the responsibility of house, children and all things domestic. I know he’s in a minority and he jokes about a woman’s place but he’s great. My daughter in law appreciates how good he is and I, of course, think he’s wonderful. I expected both my children, one girl and one boy, to do things as part of the family as it sounds as if you do and, in fact, my son was always the one more willing to help! Proves it can be done but I think it’s us as parents that need to change our attitudes as far too many boys are not expected to help in the same way as the girls.

    Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2013 16:13:41 +0000 To:

    1. janekenyon

      delighted to hear this Vanessa – yippee for smart Mums!

  2. nccmrm97

    Are there not are a lot of girls, and women, who don’t know how to do domestic chores also? My parents had us, 4 girls and 3 boys, help around the house as we were growing up. As for cooking, I only know the very minimal basics.


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