My girlfriend and I have just gone through some job swapping and moving, so there were short periods of time when our roles were reversed. To us, it has nothing to do with being the man or woman, it has to do with who has the free time. When I was stuck home for a month before I started a new job in a new town(wanting to kill myself because I was so bored every day), I did 100% of the housework and cooking. However, now that I work 2 jobs she does probably 60-75% of the housework since she just has 1 job(I work 60hrs, she works less than 40). She makes slightly more money than me, but to us that's irrelevant. In my opinion, this is the fairest way to handle the roles in a household.
Oh yeah, and my extra job is at the same place she works full time. She is on salary, but probably makes about $6-8 per hour more... and my work is harder.
Paradigm shifts take time and we're moving in the right direction already... If anything, I think we should be having these discussions in places with less open-minded people.(I try to talk about this kind of stuff in my ultrared town, often with success if approached in the right way)
Anyway... just thinking out loud.
I think the situation is slowly improving on the domestic front. I see a lot more men pitching in around the house and with child care than I remember 30 years ago. I have also begun to see an increased occurrence of men taking the larger share of responsibility for their children during a relationship split. This doesn't make up for all the deadbeat dad's out there - but then men who are responsible shouldn't be expected to make up for those who aren't.
I know what you mean, though; we are far from true social equality. Change may be coming slowly, but I think that slow change may make for better results, rather than the social pendulum we see in other areas like how people with disabilities are treated.
My point here is not that people above a certain age are all bigots and below a certain age are all for equality -- far from it. My point is simply that it takes generations for perspective shifts to actually materialize. It takes generations for concepts of equality which were fought over in our life times to become ingrained into the fabric of society as if it was always there.
That links up with my point about social inertia. A couple people can change quickly, a couple hundred million can take a long, long time. The difference between changing the direction of a cabin cruiser vs. an aircraft carrier.
Actually, a kayak vs an aircraft carrier might better represent the scale.
What makes you so sure that, at least in the marriages that work, couples don't work out a solution that THEY feel is equal? That doesn't mean doing everything 50/50, it means working out trade-offs that work best for them and their children!
Here's a woman with her won brand of equalizer:
Angered by Obama's win, Holly Solomon runs over her spouse with their car, police say.
Those zany Republicans!