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  • Writer's pictureRachel Drapper

🏠⏳ #15 | Chores, sex & 10,000+ hours in the kitchen

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TL;DR Executive Summary

  • We are excited to be working with Softwire, a leading UK software company, to develop a prototype app for Fairshare this summer

  • Fairshare has been accepted into Galvanizer, a graduate female founders program, and NEF+, the UK’s Centre for Entrepreneurs’ leadership program for founders, into their summer and fall cohorts

  • Cooking dinner for an hour a day every other day in adulthood adds up to one year & 114 days spent in the kitchen

  • Research about the association between chore-sharing and sex in couples is somewhat contradictory (see in more detail below), but recent research on the topic suggests egalitarian couples have a significantly higher frequency of sex–nearly 7 times per month–relative to ‘conventional’ couples (where women do most of the routine housework) or ‘counter-conventional’ couples (where men do more of the housework)


📊 Statistic of the month

If you cook dinner for yourself (and just yourself, not your partner or any potential children), every other day, you will cook 11,500 meals over the course of your adult lifetime. Let’s say you take an hour to cook each time–that adds up to one year and 114 days of your life spent in the kitchen. Food for thought!


🔎 Learnings from the month

  • Thank you to a Fairshare follower for sending on this amusing image to the left

  • Fortunately, there is a bunch on research on the topic of chores and sex, and receiving the above prompted me to get my head around what it shows for couples.

  • As is so often the case with research, the picture isn’t as clear as one might like, but here is an attempt to distil some of the key insights from academic papers over the past decade or so:

    • Research in 2009 did not support the hypothesis that time spent on household labor reduces the opportunity for sex. Rather, the authors found that wives and husbands who spend more hours in housework and paid work report more frequent sex, leading authors to suggest that both women and men who “work hard” also “play hard” (their words not mine)

    • Research in 2012 (important note: using data from 30 years ago) acknowledges that research consistently supports egalitarian marriages as being of “higher quality” than non-egalitarian marriages. However, it also finds that both husbands and wives in couples with more traditional housework arrangements report higher sexual frequency. This made for pretty disappointing reading for a founder trying to create a solution to help couples equalize domestic labor, and diminish the existence of ‘pink’ and ‘blue’ jobs, BUT READ ON! The plot thickens (and improves) for Fairshare and egalitarian couples the world over with more recent research…

    • Research in 2016 compared survey data from 1992-4 (used in the study above) with newer survey data from 2006 and found a change in the association between housework arrangements and sexual intimacy. More recent survey data suggested egalitarian arrangements were not associated with lower sexual frequency, quite the contrary. Reported sexual frequency among egalitarian couples increased across surveys. Egalitarian couples reported having the most sex (nearly 7 times per month), which was a significantly greater frequency than ‘conventional’ couples (where women do most of the routine housework) or ‘counter-conventional’ couples (where men do more of the housework).

Some more good news from this research:

  • Egalitarian couples and conventional couples reported similarly high sexual satisfaction

  • Women's relationship satisfaction in egalitarian relationships was found to be higher than in conventional arrangements

  • Men in egalitarian relationships were equally as happy as those in conventional relationships

  • Couples that share household work tend to be more satisfied with how they divide labor relative to conventional and counter-conventional couples

  • Couples in egalitarian arrangements reported a significantly greater sense of fairness

For those interested in reading more about the above research but who aren’t keen to wade into the academic paper, here is a more detailed summary of insights


📖 What we are consuming

  • Lazy Genius Kitchen,Kendra Adachi’s newest book (sequel to the more general Lazy Genius Way), is a non-cook book to help people “have what you need, use what you have, and enjoy it like never before” in the kitchen. She employs a lot of interesting principles for food-related tasks that Fairshare hopes to translate and apply to couples (as opposed to individuals), and to chores more broadly. Watch this space for more on her work in future updates

  • Track Your Labor, What’s the division of labor in your life? A product of Stephanie Tang Waldrop’s Master’s thesis to help couples figure out their household’s division of housework and cognitive labor

  • Better Life Lab Experiment 32: The Equal Partner Quiz, Are you doing your fair share at home and deliberately advancing gender equality? Kate Mangino and Haley Swenson designed a quiz for couples to explore this question

  • Moms Are Struggling With Burnout. Is It More Work to Let Dads Help? Wall Street Journal article, June 2022


🏆 Big wins

  • Starting this week, we are excited to be working with 6 software engineering summer interns and a technical supervisor from Softwire, a leading UK software development company, to support with the development of Fairshare’s app prototype

  • We are delighted to have been accepted into NEF+, the UK’s Centre for Entrepreneurs’ leadership program for founders, for their 2022 fall cohort

  • Likewise, we are thrilled to have got a spot on Galvanizer, a graduate female founders program, for their 2022 summer cohort


📢 Other updates

  • It has felt like a long time coming since finishing my MBA in December, but I officially graduated from Harvard Business School this past month. See (low quality selfie) photographic evidence to the left

  • I am continuing my quest for a co-founder but in a less all-consuming way than reported in last month’s newsletter

  • Sadly Fairshare’s applications to On Deck’s Founder program, Entrepreneur First and Harvard’s Social Impact Fellowship Fund were unsuccessful


🥅 Next month's goals

  1. Prepare and launch summer project with Softwire for prototype development

  2. Source 5 chief cook beta testers

  3. Develop and test two cooking-related chore-sharing interventions

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