While the burden of keeping the home clean is starting to be shared more equally between couples, signs of a class divide are beginning to emerge, says a researcher from the University of Warwick in Britain.

"There is a stark difference in couples' attitudes towards gender equality depending on how much they are earning," explained Clare Lyonette from the university's institute for employment research.It seems men on lower incomes are happily picking up the dusters, filling the dishwasher and generally starting to do their bit.

Times are changing and they acknowledge there is now a need for more equality in the home.But there is a different attitude when it comes to higher earners."We found that while men in these households do also recognise the need to help their partners, they remain reluctant to lift a finger and appear to simply throw money at the issue by hiring a cleaner instead," Lyonette informed.

Although men in general are starting to make themselves more useful around the house, regardless of income, the age-old theory remains the same - women, on the whole, are doing the most. For the study, she interviewed a number of couples, all of whom had at least one child under age 14.

"There is certainly a fairer division of household labour between couples than in the past but inequality still exists and that is perpetuated, in part, by the so-called 'myth of male incompetence'," Lyonette concluded.

Her findings were published in the British Sociological Association's Work, Employment and Society journal.
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