“House/hold” is part of a research project on women’s position in the western society. It examines the evolution of gender equality in various subjects.“House/ hold” investigates the housework gap and its consequences while it provides an ironical solution for women: a 30 minute yoga session combined with domestic chores.
The session transforms the house into a space for meditation using domestic objects as its basic elements. Housework is being transformed into illumination: the repetitive act of house making becomes not just a physical but also a mental and spiritual act where women and their household objects become entangled. “House/hold” is a guide for domestic meditation.
Since the 1960s there have been lots of achievements in the path to gender equality in western society: The gender wage gap narrowed: In 1979, women working full time earned 62 percent of what men earned; in 2014, women’s earnings were 83 percent of men’s1. The number of women in the labor force with a college degree tripled: from 11.2 percent to 40.0 percent2. Woman don’t have to choose between a career and having children: while in the 1950s only 17 precent of mothers were in the labor force, in 2005 more then 60 precent of mothers with preschoolers had a paid job and 75 precent of mothers with school-aged children were working3. And yet, certain things didn’t change that much.
Due to industrialisation and the proliferation of domestic appliances the amount of household chores done by women has dropped. On the other hand, the gap in housework distribution between men and women didn’t shrink that much and even worse since the 1990s it has been shrinking at a slower pace.
In the Netherlands, according to the Dutch Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau (SCP) women spend on an average 9 hours more on housework than men.
In households with children this gap is even bigger: According to SCP, Dutch mothers spend4 an average of 20,6 hours a week fulfilling domestic chores and 4,4 hours on childcare and mothers with children under the age of 3 years spend 18 hours a week on childcare and 20,6 hours on domestic chores: 15 hours more than men. According to The Second Shift written by Arlie Hochschild, mothers do at least a month unpaid work more in a year than fathers.
One of the consequences of this housework gap is that women have access to less leisure-time than men simply because they spend more time in unpaid work such as domestic chores and childcare. According to the ONS5 women spend 5 hours less on leisure than man on a weekly basis. The survey has also found that time spent on leisure has risen for men and dropped for women since 2000.