Pounds 18,000 price tag on a housewife

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The Independent Online
WHO works harder, the man at the office, or the woman at home looking after the children?

An honest man would answer: in most cases the woman. From the moment she is woken by the children, she is on duty until she retires to bed after making the supper, doing the washing-up, and checking the man has an ironed shirt for the morning.

The man's get-out clause has always been that he is too tired for domestic chores because he is the family breadwinner. Now he will have to think of another excuse.

According to a survey published today, women have an equal right to be regarded as the breadwinner if you calculate how much the cost of paying someone else to do their work in the home - the average is over pounds 18,000 a year, more than the salaries of 70 per cent of the working population.

The bargain most men take for granted is calculated by Legal & General, seller of life insurance, which broke down the average housewife's weekly timetable and costed the domestic chores using hourly wage rates from employment agencies.

The housewife is worth more than a train driver (pounds 339) and plumber (pounds 315); while a housewife with one child under one is valued at pounds 457 a week, and compares more than favourably with a production manager (pounds 454), or a teacher (pounds 436).

One statistic for men to heed is that women with outside jobs still work long hours at home; those with part-time jobs averaged 59 hours, while those in full-time work did 49 hours of domestic work, on top of a 40-hour week.

A nationally representative sample of 1,001 married women with dependent children took part in the survey: 47 per cent were not in paid employment, 35 per cent worked part time and 18 per cent worked full time.

----------------------------------------------------------------- The weekly value of a housewife's work ----------------------------------------------------------------- Job hours rate pounds total pounds Nanny 17.9 5.90 105.61 Cook 12.2 5.35 65.27 Cleaner 12.2 5.35 65.27 Laundress 9.3 3.80 35.34 Shopper 6.4 3.80 24.32 Dishwasher 5.7 3.80 21.66 Driver 2.6 4.50 11.70 Gardener 1.4 5.90 8.26 Seamstress 1.7 3.60 6.12 Other 1.3 4.00 5.20 Total 70.7 348.75 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Source: Legal & General -----------------------------------------------------------------