Ladies: Are we really surprised by these statistics?

By Diane J. Cho
January 09, 2019 02:03 PM

Ever wish for just 30 more minutes to unwind after a hectic day?

Well, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American man has about five and a half hours of free time a day compared to the average American woman, who only has about five.

So, what are men doing with that extra half hour of luxurious leisure time? The answer may not surprise any woman with a significant other and an Apple TV.

While some choose to socialize or exercise, most men are using their extra time to watch TV, which also includes streaming video on computers, tablets and mobile devices. That means it’s likely that you’ll find the man in your house parked in front of the tube after work instead of, perhaps, helping out with housework or taking care of the kids.

The BLS also states that the percentage growth of women joining the labor force has been greater than men’s for the past six decades – but their workload at home hasn’t decreased accordingly. 84 percent of women spend an average of 2.6 hours on household chores a day compared with 68 percent of men, who average only 2.1 hours. Furthermore, men average about three hours of watching TV per day, in comparison with women who average 2 hours and 34 minutes.

What accounts for the major disparity between TV time and chores between the genders? A variety of factors, including pervasive gender norms that women are more hardwired to do nurturing tasks like housekeeping and taking care of the kids, while men are “breadwinners” who earn downtime when they’re off the clock.

Although women have made a lot of progress fighting to change this unfair stereotype, experts agree it will to take a continuous effort from both women and men to achieve the level of equality women should be benefiting from as well. “This requires a cultural shift: we need messages in the media and workplaces to [promote] men’s caregiving as the new normal,” Gary Barker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Promundo Global, wrote for the World Economic Forum.

Guys, if you’re reading this (and especially if your significant other just “happened” to leave it open on your phone) and you’re about to press “yes” when Netflix asks you, “Are you still watching?” think about those dirty dishes sitting in the sink and make your move.