Pew: Men let women rule the roost

Alina Braun, special to

WASHINGTON – Who makes the decisions in your home?

According to a 2008 Pew Research Center survey, a majority of couples see women making most of the decisions in a home.

Pew interviewed adults who were married or living with a partner. The poll asked who was in charge of the finances, household purchases, weekend planning and TV-viewing.

WTOP wanted to know which partner Washington men and women say calls the shots at home.

“I think we make decisions jointly on finances and houses and that seems to work well for us,” says Frank Moss, who’s been married for more than 35 years.

Janine Hull just celebrated her 25th wedding anniversary and she agrees.

“We both pay attention to the finances very carefully.”

Finding the right TV program, however, is not a joint decision.

“We have two TVs. If we have a disagreement, one goes one place and one goes the other place,” Hull says.

Most couples told WTOP that neither partner dominates.

In the study, results showed that for 27 percent of couples, women rule the remote compared to 26 percent of men who control the TV. Couples decide what to watch together in about 25 percent of homes.

Women have the upper hand deciding weekend plans among couples in which one partner typically takes the lead. Twenty-eight percent of couples put the woman in charge of planning weekend activities, while only 16 percent said the man decides. Forty-six percent of all couples set their weekend plans together.

In managing household purchases, nearly half of the couples again share control equally.

For couples who stated that one person handled purchases, women once again wear the pants. Thirty percent said the women decide on big purchases, compared to just 19 percent of men.

The study also found that women are more likely to manage household finances, a task that men are typically thought to control.

Only 28 percent of the couples made financial decisions together. In 38 percent of the couples, women called the shots and men managed the money in 30 percent of the couples.

The poll results show that couples are more willing to share decisions over weekend activities than over the budget.

Bud Harris, who is not married, agrees that in most relationships women have more say. He believes that men need that extra push.

“As much as they’ll complain about it they do like having somebody else giving them direction in their life. But now that I am older I am searching for somebody to actually share decisions with,” Harris says.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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