Even though there are various reasons for assuming that the banking collapse in October 2008 and its consequences have had a negative impact on family life in Iceland, that doesn’t generally seem to be the case, according to a study by the Social Research Center.
From the Laugardalur family park. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
On the contrary, the number of divorces has decreased since the crisis hit, workload is less likely to affect family life and the division of tasks in the home has become more equal between the genders. Overall, Icelanders are more satisfied with their domestic life than in a comparative study in 2005, Morgunbladid reports.
Among the factors that might explain this development is that reduction in the working hours of men has led to increased participation in the work at home. Studies indicate that the more equality in the home, the more satisfaction there is with family life.
However, household work remains primarily in the hands of women. In 2005, women spent 15.5 hours on average per week on housework, which is down to 13 hours in 2010. The contribution of men in the home, on the other hand, has increased by almost an hour, from eight hours to nearly nine on average per week.
The Social Research Center points out that in countries where household work is distributed more equally, disputes about household chores also increase and the same appears to apply in Iceland. Housework leads to more fights than it did before the crisis hit.
In 2005, 39 percent of respondents said division of tasks in the home never caused arguments but this year only 20 percent of respondents are free of such arguments.
At the same time, the group of people who argue about housework a few times a year has doubled and those who have such arguments a few times a month have increased as well.
These changes are also believed to be a consequence of the crisis, that is, tension due to a tighter financial situation materializes in disputes about housework—the genders disagree on how much additional work men are supposed to take on at home after their working hours outside the home have decreased.
In regard to paid work, Icelanders seem to work a bit less today than they did five years ago. A man’s average workweek dropped from 52 to 46 hours, while women work 35 hours per week on average, down from 37 in 2005.