Gender differences in housework, what if it’s a perception problem?


In a study by the University of Cambridge trying to answer questions about inequality in domestic work and the invisibility of women’s work in the house have proposed a new theory, namely that men and women are trained by society to see different possibility of action in the same domestic environment.


For example, women may look at a surface and see an implied action “to clean” while men would only perceive a worktop covered in crumbs.

According to Tom McClelland from the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University, traditional gender roles could be to blame, along with various economic factors such as women taking on flexible work for childcare reasons.

Yet the fact that inequalities in household duties persisted during the pandemic, when most couples were trapped indoors, and that many men continued to be oblivious to this imbalance, means this is not the right answer.


Neuroscience has shown that receiving an input can trigger neural processes that prepare you for physical action. This can range from a mild urge to overwhelming compulsion, but it often takes mental effort not to act on an offer.


If we apply the perception of supply to the domestic environment and assume that it is influenced by gender, it goes without saying that it becomes more complex to answer questions about inequality. 

According to philosophers , when a woman enters the kitchen she is more likely to perceive inputs for particular household tasks such as seeing dishes ‘to wash’ or a refrigerator ‘to stock’.


A man may simply observe the dishes in a sink, or in a half-empty refrigerator, but without perceiving convenience or experiencing the corresponding input. Over time, these small differences add up to significant differences in who does what.


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