Why Do Women Make All the Household Decisions?

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Why Us?

Women become CEO of their household for a variety of reasons, but tradition is surely one of them. Somehow the idea gets embedded in our operating software that this job requires two X chromosomes. "My mom did it, his mom did it," says Shawn DuPre, of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. "It's easy to fall into the same pattern."

Stay-at-home moms, whose lives (on the surface anyway) may resemble their mothers', are probably more likely to feel this way, but working moms and major-bread-winner moms can get stuck in the rut, too. What's more, even when duties get divided they often conform to gender stereotypes: Men take anything that may require them to get dirty (cars, yard, garbage); women, everything else.

Such socialization is hard to shake. Indeed, a lot of women seem almost to believe that biology is domestic destiny -- that our DNA makes us more detail-oriented and better multitaskers than men. And in fact MRIs suggest that women's brains might be configured for better communication between the left and right hemispheres, which in theory would promote multitasking. Moreover, in a study at Missouri Western State University, women were more accurate than men when multitasking, suggesting a firmer grasp of details. My husband, Robb -- one of the most competent humans on the planet -- is nonetheless incapable of remembering what time our sons need to be picked up from their regular extracurricular activities. I, on the other hand, am constantly consulting the mental schedule posted in my brain, even as I go about all my other business.

Continued on page 3:  She's Got the Power


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