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Globally, women are cooking twice as many meals as men

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A new Gallup survey tracks how often people prepare home-cooked meals in countries around the globe. It finds women are cooking about twice as many meals as men. I have thoughts. As NPR's Allison Aubrey reports, there's only one country where this gender gap has disappeared.

ALLISON AUBREY, BYLINE: Traditional gender roles have long been evident in kitchens worldwide. On average, women cook about nine meals a week, men about four. This started to change during the pandemic. With a lot of people at home, men were in the kitchen more, and the survey found the gender gap narrowed. Chef Mike Friedman remembers this time well.

MIKE FRIEDMAN: You know, there was a lot more time, a lot more banana bread and sourdough being baked at home. So you know, it only makes sense that those numbers would reflect that.

AUBREY: The survey found men cooked more, and the gender gap narrowed in 2020 and again in 2021. But the latest results show this trend isn't holding up. Andrew Dugan is a research director at Gallup.

ANDREW DUGAN: This year, however, was the first year that the gender gap had actually widened. So that was a big surprise for us.

AUBREY: In countries where it's common for men and women to work outside the home and share parenting duties, you may expect to see more equal time in the kitchen.

DUGAN: What I might suggest is the traditional gender roles are starting to reassert themselves.

AUBREY: Chef Mike Friedman has his own take.

FRIEDMAN: I don't know, I think women can handle more on their plate. I think maybe men got lazy.

AUBREY: The survey results vary from country to country. The gender gap is widest in countries including Ethiopia, Egypt and Nepal. Those with the lowest gap include Spain, the U.K. and France, with the U.S. not too far behind. The only country where men cook more meals than women, the survey finds, is Italy.

FRIEDMAN: As with many things in Italy, a lot of things that you think are social norms, they get flipped on their head.

AUBREY: In the United States, women cook about two more meals a week than men. Friedman's instinct is that the survey may not capture the whole picture. He says in his house, lots of meals are collaborations.

FRIEDMAN: I know in my own home, my wife does a lot of cooking. But we talk about it, and we talk through, what should we make tonight? And a lot of times, she'll start, and I'll finish. And then I'm always left with the dishes. I don't know why.

AUBREY: Not a bad trade-off. I would much rather cook than clean up.

Allison Aubrey, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Allison Aubrey is a correspondent for NPR News, where her stories can be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She's also a contributor to the PBS NewsHour and is one of the hosts of NPR's Life Kit.