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Friday, July 01, 2005


Male housework made law.
SPANISH men will be required to scrub toilets and change nappies
as often as their harried wives under revolutionary reforms aimed at shattering the traditionally macho Latin nation's patriarchal division of labour in the home.

Changes to the marriage contract supported by the Socialist Government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, along with conservative Catholic and right-wing politicians, will force men and women to promise not only fidelity but equal shares of housework, childrearing and care of the elderly until death they do part.

As Australia grapples with Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward's report calling on men to do their fair share of household chores, Spain has used the force of law to propel lazy husbands off their couches and marital beds and into the historically female territory of the kitchen, bathroom and nursery.

The historically socially conservative Catholic country dominated by a male hierarchy is undergoing a delayed social revolution, evidenced by yesterday's decision by Spain's parliament to legalise gay marriage.

Yet despite the prescriptive nature of the new gender laws - due to pass the Spanish Senate this week - there is no means of enforcing equal sharing of unpaid work in the home in a nation where many mothers still regularly do their adult sons' washing and young girlfriends automatically prepare their partners' meals.
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