BALTIMORE (WJZ) – A new study shows that gender inequality may begin with children at home — in the form of chores.

Research suggests that a major reason women are paid less than men is because they shoulder more responsibilities at home. These responsibilities often begin during childhood, when girls are often given more chores than boys.

A recent study by Sandra Hofferth, a sociologist at the University of Maryland explores the difference in domestic skills gained and chores conducted by children of both genders while living at their parental home.

The data highlights that boys ages 15 to 19 do approximately a half an hour of housework a day, whereas girls do about 45 minutes.

Hofferth based her research on American Time Use Survey diaries from 2003 to 2014 by 6,358 high school students ages 15 to 19.

The study asks two questions. The first: Is there an upward trend in housework by adolescent boys living in their parent home over time?

Research suggests that there is no significant long-term upward trend in adolescent boys’ household work over the past decade.

The second question the study addresses asks: Is there a leading edge, such that better-educated parents are more likely to ensure that their sons have the skills to care for their home when they become adults?

Data suggests that the answer to this question is simply, no. Although, the research did find that children of college-educated parents spend less time on chores over all, but the difference is among girls.

Daughters of college graduates spend 25 percent less time on chores than daughters of parents with no more than a high school education, but they spend 11 minutes more a day than sons, according to the study.

Hofferth said that educated parents seem to have changed their expectations for their daughters, but not for their sons.

The gender gap in chores for children is a worldwide issue. However, men’s and women’s chores tend to break down into the categories of indoor and outdoor.

Women often do more work inside the home, whereas men do more outside work. Previous research emphasizes that this divide occurs with children’s chores as well.

Even though data calls attention to the gender gap in relation to household chores, there are signs that the gap is beginning to narrow. The same holds true for adults.

Hofferth’s analysis also looked at how boys and girls care for their family members, and she found that boys do just as much as girls.

Boys are also doing more caregiving worldwide. An international study highlights that in Norway, boys actually spent more time caring for family members than girls.

Researchers say this could be highly influential for future generations.

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Grace Clark (WJZ Intern) contributed to this article. 

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