About 100 years ago, the writer and humorist Mark Twain said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” You can find a study to support just about anything you believe. And if you can’t, statistics are easy to manipulate, massage, shoehorn, and just plain distort. In this article, MHN advisor Armin Brott offers several examples.
- Almost every year a new study compares men’s and women’s workload at home. And almost without fail, the conclusion is something like, “Men are doing more, but it’s still only a fraction of what women do.” Unfortunately, these studies tend to be selective in how they define “work.” They count stereotypically “female” tasks like shopping, cooking, and doing laundry, but don’t count stereotypically “male” tasks like cleaning the garage, painting, taking out the garbage, and time spent playing with the kids or helping with homework. The studies rarely take into consideration that men working full-time put in an average of 7 hours per week more than full-time women. Men also tend to work farther from their job, meaning they spend more time commuting. When you count the total time men and women put in supporting their family, the numbers are nearly identical.
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