More than one in five (21%) couples thinks the pandemic acted as a watershed moment for outdated gender roles at home and served as a catalyst for equality as we return to “normal life”.
MoneySuperMarket spoke to over 2,000 households across the country to find out how the pandemic impacted family life, and how roles and responsibilities have changed in their homes.1
How the pandemic has influenced gender roles at home
Looking at the results for those that identify as male or female, the data reveals a movement towards a more balanced split of domestic duties, with a third (33%) of couples stating that cleaning the house is now more equally distributed between them and their partner, regardless of gender. However, despite the widespread cultural shift, there is a disparity in opinions. While 38% of men perceive a more equal balance when it comes to cleaning the house, only 29% of women echo the same sentiment. Around a quarter of couples also agree that a fairer balance has been struck with cooking and laundry responsibilities (27% and 24% respectively).
This trend is also observed in how families with two parents split their childcare responsibilities. Regardless of family make-up, almost two in five (35%) households say the school run is now shared more evenly between both parents. However, an imbalance in opinions between genders is evident in the data, with 42% of men perceiving a more equal balance when it comes to sharing the school run with their partner, compared to only 30% of women.
How the pandemic has impacted family finances
Beyond the changes to family life, the pandemic has altered household finances across the nation in a big way. Over a quarter (26%) say there is now one sole earner in their family, and a further 16% say they have become the sole earner but were not before Covid hit. The research also reveals a fragility in the current structure of Brits’ personal finances as, in a third of households (33%) the main income provider does not have life insurance, potentially leaving their family unprotected.
Following a shift in working conditions for many caused by lockdown, almost one in five (17%) households with two parents say they or their partner had to take on extra responsibilities at home because one of them was working longer hours. Conversely, working from home has also given many a fresh perspective on their partner’s daily duties, with one in ten (10%) citing a brand-new appreciation for how much their significant other does around the house.
The uncertainty of the past year and changes in the nation’s household finances may be why over a third (34%) say they will either start up or put more money into an emergency fund following the pandemic.
Projections for family life after the pandemic
Looking ahead, it’s clear a year in isolation has shifted priorities for many. Nearly a quarter (23%) of households say family holidays are now top of the agenda, and they will be going on more than ever once travel restrictions allow. Almost one in five (17%) will be putting healthy eating at the top of their priority list post-pandemic, as they focus on cooking more nutritious meals for their family. Data also shows lockdown provided a newfound appreciation for the great outdoors, with almost one fifth (17%) saying their family will be taking up more activities and sports, once restrictions allow.