Boys Start Outearning Girls From a Tender Age

The wage gap is a topic often noted and criticized while remaining seemingly resistant to change. Year after year, we hear that men make more than woman.

A number of reports reveal that the wage gap actually begins from the time we arere kids, with girls more likely to be assigned household chores than boys and paid less of an allowance. As Soraya Chemaly writes in Salon, girls spend two more hours per week doing household chores than boys and tend to be paid less in the form of an allowance for doing domestic chores:

A 2009 study conducted by University of Michigan economists found a two-hour gender disparity in responsibilities per week in a study of 3,000 kids. That same year, Highlights magazine, a children’s publication, surveyed its readers and found that 75 percent of girls had chores, while just 65 percent of boys did.

A website that helps parents teach children about earning and using money, pktmny, finds that there are indeed  ”significant divides based on gender, age and the nature of the task being undertaken by each child.” Girls are more likely to do housework such as vacuuming or doing the dishes and to be paid less than boys, who are instead more likely to perform chores outside the house like mowing the lawn or shoveling snow.

That is, as Chemaly points out, girls are far more likely to do tasks indoors and in the house while boys are given tasks to do outside. Parents still tend to delegate chores in a way that is likely to perpetuate gender disparities in their children’s future employment and in society as a whole.

Other research suggests that such gender disparities experienced at a tender age in childhood can have lifelong consequences. A Pew Research study has found that men who grew up with sisters were more likely to say that their spouse did more housework; they were also more likely to be socially conservative and to be Republicans.

We do not, though, have to be stuck in a perpetual cycle of wage discrepancy. Findings such as those of the Pew study can serve as an impetus for parents to strive to create an egalitarian climate in their households. We all can vacuum, dust and do laundry; some might say that parents who do not teach all their kids such are failing to teach essential life skills. Yard work and washing cars most definitely should not be tasks reserved for boys.

Today’s college students have seen a woman at the head of the U.S. State Department for most of their lives. There are certainly far fewer women CEOs than men but there are plenty of women in positions of influence and power. Why not start creating a more equal society from the start, with equal allowances and an equitable division of labor inside the house and out?

Photo from Thinkstock


Jerome S
Jerome S7 months ago


Jim Ven
Jim V7 months ago

thanks for sharing.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

so familiar. my brothers got paid to mow the lawn, help cut bushes ect, I was expected to do dishes, wash clothes ect and I NEVER got paid.It was just my responsibility

Sarah clevenger
Sarah clevenger4 years ago

parents need to treat their children as equals! I understand that some of the houshold chores boys get require a little more work but atleast give the girl the chance to try or pick the chore she wants.

Lin M
Lin M4 years ago

I can remember getting 50 cents to dust all furniture. The part I hated most was mom's vanity with all her "stuff" sitting out to dust. I did dishes, ran sweeper and helped cook plus do ironing. So these kids today just have it made.

Mark Botermuc
Mark p.muc4 years ago

Thank you ...

Sonali G.
Sonali G4 years ago

My parents divorced when I was nine and my mother would get rid of us every summer and 'palm us off' on my father. He was really good at exploiting his offspring. Most summers were spent doing some sort of work for him whilst breathing in fumes in his horrible electroplating factory. We did not usually get anything for it either. I guess the painting and decorating made a change from breathing in cyanide and acid fumes and I earned some money. 'Be thankful for small mercies' they say

Lisa Zilli
Lisa Zilli4 years ago


Karen E.
Karen E4 years ago

thank you for sharing

Sonali G.
Sonali G4 years ago

During one summer holiday, when I was 14 my dad decided to 'teach' me how to be an employee by 'hiring' me to decorate his home on a wage of £2.00 an hour. I had to strip the walls, prepare all surfaces; paper and paint all but the kitchen. Meanwhile he was having a shed built out back in his garden and, unknown to me a friend's boy aged about 12 years was 'employed' with the men to help build it with bricks and cement. I found out weeks later that my dad paid the boy more than me to stand around and watch a cement mixer go round and round mostly doing nothing but leaning on a spade. Meanwhile I busted a gut to get my dads house looking nice as quickly and cheaply as I possibly could. This was typical behaviour from my dad however. He did teach me a valueable lesson. That even your own family; flesh and blood is happy to screw you over and it is especially easy to do if you are female.