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Thursday, October 22, 1998 Published at 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK


Women still tied to kitchen sink

Washed out: Women still spend more time than men on housework

Click here for more details of the survey of the sexes.

Women are still lumbered with the vast majority of housework and get paid less, says a new report.

While the image of the British female may have changed, equality has not been fully achieved at work or at home.

The BBC's Alison Holt: "It is an age-old issue"
The report reveals that women spend twice as much time cooking as men, five times as long cleaning the house and eight times as long doing the laundry.

At least when it comes to doing repairs around the house, men come out on top, with 25% of couples saying that the man always gets lumbered with unblocking the sink.

The report also says that working women socialise twice as much as men, but points out that "socialising" includes talking on the telephone.

[ image: Equal work, but not equal pay]
Equal work, but not equal pay
The report, produced by the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Office for National Statistics, found that in the 1970s, women in full-time work received 54% of their male counterparts' earnings.

But the EOC says that despite the Equal Pay Act introduced in that decade, women were still only getting 73% of men's average weekly earnings last year.

It says that now the pay gap must be closed "once and for all" and it will be presenting some radical proposals to the government.

The report, Social Focus on Men and Women, details how women are now outperforming men at A-level standard and there had been a 66% increase in the number of female full-time undergraduates between 1990 and 1995.

[ image: Putting their house in order: Equal rights campaigners have promised to fight for equal pay]
Putting their house in order: Equal rights campaigners have promised to fight for equal pay
Yet women who earn at least a 10th more than their male partner make up only 16% of couples.

Report editor Carol Summerfield said: "The traditional distinction between the woman's role of homemaker and the man's role as breadwinner has, to a certain extent, been eroded over the last generation or so.

"Nevertheless, occupational differences remain and although the pay gap between men and women has narrowed over the last quarter of a century it still exists.

"But despite the advance of women in the workplace the woman's role in the home has not changed so dramatically from that of her mother - it is still the woman in a partnership who usually has the major responsibility for household chores and childcare."

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