P&G Spain Reveals the Stunning Imbalance in Household Duties Between Women and Men

Proximity Madrid found 71% of women felt overloaded, but only 12% of men

Participants in Spain share surprise in how chores are divvied up. P&G Spain

The list of things to get done in a household can be overwhelming, especially when the load isn’t evenly balanced. For families, the “divide and conquer” method, when done right, can help alleviate the inherent stress of tackling chores big and small.

But in reality, across many nations, women continue to carry the bulk of the daily burdens around the home, even when both both partners work full-time.

To address this ongoing imbalance, Procter & Gamble Spain and agency Proximity Madrid looked to shed light on mental overload and its effect on women with the #descargamental project—translated as #MentalDownload in English.

An online study by P&G and Proximity found that most women are responsible for logistics and decision-making in a family’s household, leading to 71 percent of them suffering from mental overload compared to 12 percent of men. More than 2,400 people between 25 and 49 were interviewed for the study, including couples with and without children, to look at who covered daily responsibilities in the home.

Along with the study, P&G interviewed five couples and tasked them with writing down their mental to-do lists in the notes app on their mobile phones. The study found that 46 percent of Spanish couples believe that household tasks are shared. When the couples swapped phones, however, the scales were tipped showing that 91 percent of women both plan and execute chores in the home.

The men’s notes were largely focused on work or personal matters, like “Send missing notes to the accountant,” and, “Look for a basketball team,” while the women’s lists were never-ending household reminders, like “Unblock the shower, call the bank, buy potatoes.” It was a huge wake-up call to the men in their lives, who realized how full their partner’s plates were, just with household tasks, not to mention actual work duties.

One male participant noted that he wasn’t “surprised [that] she’s overwhelmed with so much” while a female participant said that her “day could be 42 hours long.”

A customized website houses the results of the study and offers couples ways to alleviate mental overload, make daily tasks more manageable and is the brand’s way of seeking to change the imbalance.

Amy Corr is a contributor to Adweek.