Honey-Do, Spanish-Style

This is funny, and something any married person can probably relate to. No matter if you have a husband or a wife, you probaby have a “honey-do” list (i.e. “honey, do this,” “honey, do that, ” etc.). Normally, it just takes being asked over and over again to motivate you, if only to stop the requests. In Spain, however, it takes a law.

Spanish men will have to learn to change nappies and don washing-up gloves under the terms of a new law designed to strike a blow at centuries of Latin machismo.

The law, due to be passed this month, is likely to provoke a revolution in family affairs in a country where 40% of men reportedly do no housework at all. It will oblige men to “share domestic responsibilities and the care and attention” of children and elderly family members, according to the draft approved by the Spanish parliament’s justice commission.

This will become part of the marriage contract at civil wedding ceremonies later this year.

…Failure to meet the obligations will be taken into consideration by judges when determining the terms of divorces. Men who refuse to do their part may be given less frequent contact with their children.

Spanish women spend five times longer on housework than their husbands. Even where both have jobs outside the home, Spanish women still do three times as much work in the house.

…A study five years ago by Spain’s Centre for Sociological Investigation concluded that fathers spent an average of 13 minutes each day looking after their children.

Alternatively, I’d call this “The Get Off Your Lazy Ass Act.” It’s funny, but at the same time, it’s not so funny when you really think about it. I’m sure Spanish women don’t find it a laughing matter at all.

It’s interesting to me in the sense that in our house, duties are not divided along gender lines, because we’re both the same gender. So, there’s a whole set of cultural assumptions that just don’t apply to us. I’d be interesting in hearing how the sort of duties described above break out in U.S. households, even (and maybe especially) more progressive households. My observation is that even in the most liberal, progressive families, a greater share of the childcare still falls to women—not to the degree that it does in Spain, perhaps, but still greater.

Via Jaye.

About Terrance

Black. Gay. Father. Buddhist. Vegetarian. Liberal.
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