What’s Current: Study shows older women do twice as much unpaid domestic work as men

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news roundup.

  • A study finds that older women do twice as much unpaid work as men worldwide. Women over 60 spend an average of four hours per day doing domestic work.
  • Secretary of Education Betsy Devos is proposing new guidelines to Title IX that would change the way schools handle sexual misconduct. DeVos is receiving criticism, saying her department’s proposed changes to reporting guidelines will “make schools less safe” for survivors because they provide better protection to schools and the accused.
  • Alcohol-related deaths among women have increased 67 percent, according to research by the University of Washington.
  • Nearly 70 per cent of women in Tokyo support single sex train cars.
  • A waitress from Vancouver Island says she was drugged, taken to Esquimalt’s naval base, and sexually assaulted.
Meghan McCarty

Meghan McCarty is an undergraduate student and aspiring journalist living in the United States.

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  • お茶

    Women’s unpaid work supports the paid work that men do. Men do not have to worry about clean clothes, dinner, picking up children, etc. This is why so many women are in part-time work. The work world could not function without women.

    Women do *more* work (paid+unpaid) than men but are somehow still paid less for the paid work they do! Woth regars to work, men are parasites.

  • Nadja Penaluna

    Regarding the first article: “Can people work without their hands? My own clothes are even washed with someone else. I do not wash them. I also have asthma. I cannot breathe.” – heartbreaking.

    “The report made several recommendations for governments, including supporting social pensions for older women and reducing and redistributing unpaid care work, through better care provision, including childcare.”

    Notice the recommendations were not about adequate payment for unpaid care work, but merely a redistribution of the burden. Why not recommend that the unpaid labour – which is essential to the needs of society – be properly paid?

    The reason is because the folks behind the report know full well that the government will never implement better social security for seniors or better wage standards for caregiving, and have in fact been stripping away all social benefits and labour protections at a rapid clip.

  • Gundog

    How are women in a first world nations spending 4 hours on housework a day? I am the cook and primary chore-doer and there is no way I even come close to 4 hours a day.

    • Robert Gonzalez

      Women over 60, it specified. Just going off my grandparents, that figure is pretty accurate.

  • Liz

    Males don’t deserve the female population they have. There effing parasites!

  • Blazing Fire

    So, from the Tokyo article, a group of men claimed that having a women-only carriage discriminates against them, and they forcibly boarded the women-only carriage to protest (and am pretty sure they’d have surreptitiously photographed any breast-feeding mother, who assumed that this would be a safe place to comfortably feed her infant without having to be on guard). In the same breath they claim – just like dudes world over – that they are being “falsely accused” (aaargh.. yaawn) of groping & that they wanted “protection” in such cases & insurance that offers legal aid.

    Wouldn’t a separate carriage reduce the risk of them being “falsely” accused?? They want to force themselves into the “jaws” of the “lying-bitches”??

  • Laura P.

    “Due process,” like the “right to keep and bear arms,” was amended into the Constitution by white male slaveholders to preserve their privileged position.

  • Daniel

    “There is a reason why men won’t do it – it is considered degrading, and it is.” What do mean housework is degrading? I’m a single man living on my own and I do housework all time. I clean my own toilet and do my own laundry, using the Ball Mobile Washer which is a manual clothes washer I might add. It isn’t degrading, just necessary.

  • Kathleen Lowrey


    “Women are going to have to shed this nonsense that what they do in the home is at all important and some kind of “career” when in fact it is a lifestyle choice that should never be subsidized by those of us who actually have paid employment.”

    So babies should raise themselves? Or babies should be immediately put into paid care the day after they are born? This dismissal of the work of caring for other people — the young, the old, the ill, the dependent — a set of categories which will include ALL OF US at some point in the life course — is just capitalist life-hating nonsense. This kind of work has to be redistributed, yes, but just declaring it all worthless degrading garbage is not only unfeminist it wilfully disregards the basic facts of life. Women give a lot more care than they get: that’s injustice. People need care: that’s just life.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I guess I might ask why we would assume men would enjoy drinking but not women? Drinking is fun… (I’m not necessarily disputing your other points, to be clear, I just think it’s weird that partying is considered something ‘natural’ and expected for men, as far as interests go, but not women. Why wouldn’t we like the bar just as much as men do?)

  • Penny Smith

    Yes, getting blotto, in part, is about self-medication, and a necessary escape from the economic and social hardships afflicting youth and young adults today. The UN has just published a report on the social conditions in the UK. 1 in 5 are living below the poverty line. Suicide is so prevalent that the government has had to institute a task force of sorts to address the problem.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I assume you are pro-choice, in that case? I certainly have taken the fact that I don’t want to spend my life raising, caring for, and cleaning up after children into account, in terms of my decision not to give birth…

  • Meghan Murphy

    I sort of think that (perhaps unfortunately, though I enjoy drinking, so…) the fact women drink more these days is just a sign of women’s increasing ‘equality’ (if you want to talk/look at things in liberal terms)… We’re allowed in bars, we aren’t trapped in the home, we work, so go for drinks after work, there’s less stigma around women getting wasted in public than there used to be, etc…

  • Robert Gonzalez

    Must be nice for your grandparents, Gunsy. My father’s parents were poor and barely scraped by. My grandfather is gone now and my grandmother is in a nursing home. But when they were home they only “goofed” off at night for a few hours before going to bed. My grandmother stayed doing chores, even when her hip went bad. My grandfather was a worker, too, but did more of the outdoor and gardening type things. My other grandmother took care of my grandfather who has terrible diabetes. It took up to an hour a day for her just to treat his wounds that wouldn’t heal, due to the diabetes. I think that qualifies as a chore and unpaid labor.

    So, yeah, I’d say the figure is accurate.

  • Robert Gonzalez

    Yeah, there are some who can afford it. But if there’s domestic work to be done, most women are the ones to get stuck with it.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh good. Just checking.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Equality doesn’t mean similarity or copy cat – drink & fall like men used to.
    Equality certainly doesn’t mean equally bad. Sorry sis..”

    Dude. I’m not advocating for this, I’m just saying this is likely a factor. I don’t advocate women be more ‘like men’ in order to liberate themselves from patriarchy. Surely you’ve been paying attention to what I’ve been saying over the years, and it’s not what you’re saying here.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I do indeed live by this advice. Ha.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I call everyone ‘dude’. I know you’re not male.

  • will

    Is this what you are looking for?


    Check page 55. The author is currently finishing a PhD on the topic.

    Your assertion that women were getting fall-down drunk in the same numbers and at the same rate 100 years ago as now tell me you are projecting your own sloppy social analysis onto me. Stop it. And you can stick your dismissive accusation of Pollyannaism up your arse. My argument also has nothing to do with rose-coloured memories or “think[ing] women are naturally less badly behaved than men*”. Quit with the presumptions.

    Don’t assume I don’t know how to quantify social changes in my own community. Where I live, trauma-based drinking by women is on the rise. Period.

    *Of course we all know that women are FAR less “badly behaved” than men. See: femicide rates, rape statistics, spouse abuse. I believe that is a result of socially conditioned behaviour, not “natural” processes, hence my showing up here on a feminist site…

  • will

    “We’re not laughing *with* you; we’re laughing *at* you!” 😛

  • Goddess_of_Dischord

    Totally agree! I hate that women are conditioned from birth to be caretakers, and it’s weird when a woman has no identity outside of being a mom. Like damn be your own person too. I’m a mom and a scientist and I love being both. Our society needs to change so that having a child doesn’t cripple women financially the way it does now, making us need to depend on men if we have children. I went to Rutgers and I was disgusted by the lack of resources they had for parents attending their college and the outrageous price of the daycare too. While I understand that feminism wants women to break free of the traditional role as caretaker and basically slave to man in the home, feminists also need to understand that to liberate all women, mothers need to be liberated too, because in the end not all women are going to want to give up the role of being a mother. It’s sad that Rutgers had a whole college supposedly dedicated to women, but none of which was dedicated to mothers, who face even more challenges than women without children. I am very fortunate to have graduated but so many moms had to drop out, which is unfair to them and their children as a degree is one way out of poverty(esp cuz they were alreayd enrolled and now have student debt). I believe pro-choice should be pro-choice not pro-abortion, if I choose to have the baby, I should still be able to accomplish my goals and dreams and live and survive without a man’s financial help…abortion should not be the only answer to that.

  • Goddess_of_Dischord

    Men are useless lol

  • Vivian Li

    Not heterosexual marriage, at least.

  • Meghan Murphy

    So long as men control the money, women are dependent on them, which has been, historically, a bad situation for women.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Arranging the flowers and making sure the doilies are positioned neatly….” Do you live in a TV show?

  • お茶

    Go back and read my comment again.