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Old 06-24-2005, 10:51 AM   #1
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New law in Spain REQUIRE men to share equally in housework

I heard this story on the BBCWorldservice last night and thought it was interesting and might merit an FYM discussion. Here's the gist of it and a link to the full article.

Quote:
Housework looms for Spanish men

Spanish men who refuse to lift a finger around the house are facing new legal sanctions.

MPs in Spain have drawn up a marriage contract for use in civil ceremonies which obliges men to share household chores and the care of children and elderly family members.

The new law, which will be introduced this summer in Spain, promises a revolution in a country where nearly half of all men admit to doing no housework at all.

Puffing and panting and swearing under his breath, 36-year-old Santi Risco tries to put up an ironing board. He doesn't have much success and it's a pretty painful sight watching a previously undomesticated Spanish male trying hard to change with the times.

"Spanish law is changing so men have to do 50% of the housework," Santi tells me, rather red-faced. "I am getting married this autumn so I am learning things I've never done before: ironing, cleaning floors and doing the washing up.

"It's not that I'm a macho man. It's just that I've never been taught these things before."

Upbringing

Santi's trying to make up for lost time. He gives up on the ironing board and heads for the bathroom, ready to clean the mirrors. He is a man with a mission. The contract he will sign at his civil wedding ceremony this September will oblige him - by law - to share domestic responsibilities with his partner.

Failure to do so will affect the terms of a divorce settlement, should he ever find himself in that position. But even as Santi cleans up his act, Aintzane, his wife-to-be, says she remains sceptical about the new law.

"It's good that Santi is beginning to do things in the house. Well, he has to. I told him about the consequences if he doesn't. But it's not just men. Women in Spain are also part of the problem.

"Our mothers tell us to do the housework when we are little girls. So when we go to a relationship we do the housework."

So can this "housework law" as it has been dubbed here really change Spanish cultural traditions? Statistics show that Spanish women spend up to five times longer on housework than their husbands.

If they have a full-time job, they still do three times more housework.

A study five years ago by the Centre for Sociological Investigation concluded that Spanish fathers spent an average of 13 minutes a day looking after their children. And only 19% of Spanish men thought it was right for mothers of school age children to have a full-time job.

Margarita Uria is the MP who set up the new law.

"It's all a question of education", she says. "Starting with this law, but we should also teach children in schools. Men have to learn to start taking more responsibility in the home and women have to help them do it. This is beginning to change. After all, the Spanish parliament was unanimous in approving this law."

...rest of text here at the BBC website
So, what do you all think? Good idea, bad idea or just too utopic? I find myself of several opinions at the same time. One side being that hell yes it is about time that men were required to pitch in their fair share. But on the other side, how in the world could this be enforced and is it the government's job to do so? I'm not sure. But I like the idea of evening the playing field so to speak and adding equal housework to what is expected from people in a marriage.

My parents were a good example, I feel. They both did work around our house and they both took turns cooking and washing up. If my mom cooks, my dad cleans, and vice-versa. Even in my own relationship, my boyfriend does the majority of the cleaning around the house (sweeping, mopping, etc.) while I cook and we take turns doing the dishes. Here in Mali for the most part women are treated as domestic servants. It is completely normal to see a man come home and sit and demand that his wife bring him a cup of water or a cup of tea or whatever he wants. Like a little king. Makes me want to pour the cup of water over his head and tell him to get his own damn water.
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Old 06-24-2005, 10:58 AM   #2
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How much do we want the government involved in our private lives?

And if anyone thinks this will improve a relationship - guess again.
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Old 06-24-2005, 10:58 AM   #3
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I can't see how they can enforce it, and I find the intrusion of government into private lives disturbing, but a part of me says "It's about damned time!"

So.... I like the idea, but the law makes me queasy.
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Old 06-24-2005, 11:02 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by indra
I can't see how they can enforce it, and I find the intrusion of government into private lives disturbing, but a part of me says "It's about damned time!"

So.... I like the idea, but the law makes me queasy.
Pretty much sums up how I feel about it. I don't want the government in my bedroom or my kitchen. Or the living room and bathroom for that matter.
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Old 06-24-2005, 11:03 AM   #5
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Re: New law in Spain REQUIRE men to share equally in housework

Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
Makes me want to pour the cup of water over his head and tell him to get his own damn water.
That would be my reaction too.


My dad used to try to pull that one sometimes. My mum would just tell him to get his own damned stuff.
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Old 06-24-2005, 11:05 AM   #6
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I think it would be a nice idea for couples to agree between themselves that this would be a part of a marriage agreement. And from what I got out of the article, the law wouldn't be "enforced" as much (like, a dude couldn't be arrested), but it would be legal grounds for divorce if the man violated the agreement.

That said...well, as I said, I think it would be very wise for couples to discuss and agree on this beforehand. But there could well be legit reasons for a woman to be doing more housework. I think it would be better settled on a personal, individual, case-by-case basis.
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Old 06-24-2005, 11:28 AM   #7
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while i appreciate the idea behind the law (being the egalitarian i am ), i don't think passing a law is the best way to bring about societal change in this case.

i agree that in many cases, men could be more helpful around the house, but like joyfulgirl said, i don't want the law regulating what goes on in my bedroom or my kitchen.

nice try, but it ain't gonna work.
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Old 06-24-2005, 12:12 PM   #8
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I have a friend that I wish there was this law just for him; it would force him to help his wife.
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Old 06-24-2005, 12:20 PM   #9
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I like the idea of sharing housework, but I have real trouble with a law *mandating* it. And I don't see how in the hell they'll enforce it.
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Old 06-24-2005, 01:35 PM   #10
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Hmmm, re-thinking the break-up with ex-boyfriend who lives in Barcelona
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Old 06-24-2005, 02:04 PM   #11
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Police, arrest tht man! He refuses to take out the trash!



Rather than relying a law that will be all but impossible to enforce, parents need to show their sons at an early age that household chores aren't "women's work" and that they should share in them equally. Mothers should teach and fathers should set an example by helping out.

I firmly believe that boys should learn to cook, do laundry, sew a button, iron a shirt and clean toilets and it needs to start at home at an early age. It should not be up to a man's wife to train him.

Likewise, I think girls should know how pump their own gas, change a tire and kill bugs
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Old 06-24-2005, 02:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bono's American Wife
Likewise, I think girls should know how change a tire...
Most girls don't know how to call AAA?
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Old 06-24-2005, 02:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by indra


Most girls don't know how to call AAA?




Actually, now that you mention AAA, I don't know if anyone really changes their own tires anymore
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Old 06-24-2005, 02:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bono's American Wife
I firmly believe that boys should learn to cook, do laundry, sew a button, iron a shirt and clean toilets and it needs to start at home at an early age. It should not be up to a man's wife to train him.



but wouldn't you be teaching your son to be gay?
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Old 06-24-2005, 02:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511





but wouldn't you be teaching your son to be gay?



omg, I hadn't thought about that!



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