Who does the housework?

A young man and a young woman hold up a stack of hand towels together.
Image: colourbox.de

What chores do you do in the household? What does your partner do? Gender equality is a hot topic in Germany: whether it's work, raising children, or housework.

"That little bit of housework takes care of itself, my husband says", a German pop tune said in the 1970s. At that time in this country it was common for the husband/father to be the breadwinner and the wife/mother to take care of the children and the household.

These days, young couples have a new ideal: both work and both take care of the household and raise the children together. Yet the reality is different: though both partners often work outside the home, women still do most of the housework – in addition to their day job.

According to statistics from the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), women spend over 160 minutes a day on housework, while men spend about 90 minutes a day. Germany is halfway down the ranking in Europe. In Scandinavia, the division of chores is closer to equal; in southern Europe, the opposite is true.