In a previous New York Times article, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Wharton professor Adam Grant pointed out that men can benefit from contributing to the “office housework” that often gets delegated to women — things like taking notes in meetings and mentoring junior colleagues.
It turns out that men can also benefit — in the bedroom — from doing actual housework.
Sandberg and Grant reported in the fourth instalment of their New York Times series, Women at Work:
Research shows that when men do their share of chores, their partners are happier and less depressed, conflicts are fewer, and divorce rates are lower. They live longer, too; studies demonstrate that there’s a longevity boost for men (and women) who provide care and emotional support to their partners later in life.
Sandberg recommended that men pass on buying flowers the next time they want to do something nice for their partner, and do laundry instead.
In addition to benefiting in the bedroom, the simple action of contributing to more housework will provide the next generation with a template for how equality should look. “When children see their mothers pursuing careers and their fathers doing housework, they’re more likely to carry gender equality forward to the next generation,” wrote Sandberg and Grant.
The move towards equality means a move towards a more prosperous society: “Today, economists estimate that raising women’s participation in the workforce to the same level as men could raise G.D.P. by another 5% in the United States — and by 9% in Japan and 34% in Egypt.”
It is crucial to understand that everyone benefits from gender equality, and even the smallest of steps can be powerful, such as nixing the flowers and choosing to load the dishwasher instead.