Doing housework, making babies Working women in dual-income families want more equality when it comes to sharing household chores before they consider having babies. July 9, 2007 - 11:33AM Husbands who pick up a duster and help their wives with the housework might be doing much more than just sprucing up their homes. A new study released in Britain has found that working wives with husbands who roll up their sleeves around the home are more likely to have children. The findings suggest that working women in dual-income families want more equality when it comes to sharing household chores before they consider having babies. In her study, London School of Economics research student Pia Schober found that couples with a traditional male breadwinner and stay-at-home mum were 50 per cent more likely to have a second child than dual-income couples. However, when husbands in dual-income marriages did more than one third of the housework they raised the chance of their wives having their first baby by 79 per cent. And if they then helped out looking after that first baby, the likelihood of their wife having a second child leapt by 50 per cent. Ms Schober said the results suggested that the more husbands helped around the home, the more likely their wives were to fulfil their desire for children. "I think it shows that there are now more and more women who expect and want men to contribute," she said. "That doesn't mean that on the other hand that the traditional (marriage) model (with a male breadwinner and stay-at-home mum) doesn't work. "However, there is evidence that men's contribution to housework and childcare does matter." Ms Schober quizzed more than 1,000 British couples with wives ranging in age between 20 and 40. Her study, Family Work and Selection into Parenthood among British Couples, was released at the British Household Panel Survey conference in England last week. Ms Schober said having a child usually changed a woman's life more than a man's, with possible falls in paid earnings and career opportunities. "Among dual earner couples, those with full-time employed mothers and young children bear the largest overall work burden, and, due to persisting gender inequalities in domestic work, more of that workload falls on mothers than fathers," she said. Ms Schober said government policies which allow working men more flexibility to help look after their families would help take pressure off their wives, especially those in full-time employment and wanting to have more children. More affordable and expanded childcare services would also help, she said.