HOUSEWORK AND MEN

24 May 2005, 03:05:50 PM

Reporter: Glenn Connley

In the beginning man was a hunter and gatherer, while the women stayed at home and looked after the cave.

But in this age of equality and dishwashers, blokes couldn't hunt down a pre-roasted chook or gather their thoughts, so surely it's about time the men started to pull their weight and do their bit around the cave.

Comedian Tim Smith and his wife, Jules, have a beautiful home in Melbourne, but while Jules cleans it from top to bottom, Tim sits on his bottom and watches.

Its an age-old problem for women across the world - getting their bloke to pitch in at home. In fact, latest research from the Australian Institute of Family Studies says while men do between eight and nine hours housework a week, women do between 19 and 25 hours.

Now in Spain, a proposed law will force men to do at least 40% of domestic duties, otherwise they will miss out when it comes to diving assets in the divorce courts.

Nova FM host, Dave O'Neil recently performed a stand-up comedy act called "House Proud", mocking his own laziness. "I don't see dust, I don't think men see dust at all. I don't believe in things like vacuuming; I don't believe in doing dishes; I don't believe in lots of things", Dave said.

Dr. Carole Ferrier from the Queensland University Centre for Women says its time working wives took a stand. "I suppose one successful strategy would be for all women in the house to just stop doing it, even perhaps for just a week. They'd probably be much more miserable living in squalor with no food, but that would definitely work", she said.

But there are plenty of guys who would spend hours working out ways to avoid work. "All you have to do guys, if you are watching this, is break one good dish when you are doing the drying or washing up", Tim said.

Interestingly, there is a marked difference between what married and unmarried men do around the house. De-facto husbands do 39% of the housework in their homes and 73% of the outdoor jobs. Married men do just 26% of the housework but 81% of the outdoor jobs. Married women do a huge 83% of the housework at their place, while unmarried women do 71%.

Today Tonight is on the hunt for Australia's best and worst husband when it comes to domestic duties. To enter your husband send an outline of why you think he is Australia's best or worst husband to tt@7perth.com.au