Even managing pets takes a toll on women’s mental workload

The management of pets would also weigh on the mental load of women. At least that’s what a recent study by theFIFG for VetocanisMay 24-25. Taking care of a pet would be a vector of inequalities within couples : women are always more involved than men.

Buying kibble, filling the bowls, planning appointments with the veterinarian, changing the cat’s litter, taking the dog out, arranging for daycare on vacation… According to the results of the survey, women are well more likely to perform these daily tasks: 81% of respondents believe that they do more than their spousecompared to 64% of respondents who believe they do more than their spouse.

“This study, the first to focus on the sharing of tasks related to animals within the home, highlights the same trend towards gender inequality than that found in the management of household chores in general”, underlines François Kraus, head of the Gender and Sexuality division at theFIFG.

Even if the choice of a pet is often a collective decision, it is ultimately the woman who most often assumes responsibility for it, because it is to her that gender stereotypes assign the responsibility for the good housekeeping.

And to conclude: “The fact of taking care of animals also obeys the logic of carewhich applies to children and the elderly who are mainly cared for by women”.

Disputes and tensions in the heart of couples

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This mental load, linked to the management of a four-legged companion, can even become a source of tension within the couple: 31% of those surveyed admit to arguing about this. Among those under 35, nearly one in two people (46%) say they have already argued with their partner for this reason and more than one in four (26%) say it happens often.

In some cases, it can even lead to rupture : 10% of women questioned explained that they broke up with their spouse because the latter refused to take care of them, compared to 9% of men. 15% of French women questioned also recognize that the misunderstanding of their partner with their animal has already caused a breakup. Men are 9% to mention this reason for separation.

Note: if the possession of an animal is therefore likely to tip a couple, the refusal to have a little also generate disputes and separations, as reported by 14% of respondents – and more than a third of 18-24 year olds.

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