The European Union is being asked to make sure men do at least half of the household chores as part of a “strategy for equality”.
A committee of the European Parliament in Strasbourg wants the EU to launch a campaign to highlight the “equal division of domestic work”.
The Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality claims the “unequal division of family responsibilities” needs to be tackled by introducing “measures encouraging men’s participation in domestic labour.”
A leading Tory MP today blasted the plan, and called for the EU to stop its “ridiculous meddling”.
Equality campaigners point to research which shows in the UK 70 per cent of all housework is done by women, and nearly two-thirds of all chores is done by them even if they work over 30 hours per week.
The comments were submitted as part of the ‘EU Strategy for equality between women and men post 2015’, and drew derision from Tory MP Philip Davies.
He told The Huffington Post UK: “With Greece and the eurozone reaching crisis point, you would think the EU would have better things to be doing than lecturing families on who should be doing the housework.
“It is this kind of ridiculous meddling in things that are none of their business which has helped to bring the EU into such disrepute”
Ukip MEP Louise Bours also spoke out against the proposal, and told The Huffington Post UK: “What kind of organisation interferes to this extent in the private lives of people – their marriages, their partnerships?
“It is up to adults in the privacy of their own homes to decide who does what – it is not the place of any government, and certainly not the place of EU bureaucrats, to decide who does and who doesn't do the dishes."
The main focus of the text adopted by the European Parliament in Strasbourg last week was on tackling violence against women and reducing the gender the pay gap.
The text also claimed there has “been a slowdown in political action and reform for gender equality during the last decade at EU level”.
But as well as focusing on an increase in paternity leave and flexible working, it also called for the introduction of “awareness campaigns for the equal division of domestic work.”
The explanatory comments included in the original report, produced by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, go even further.
Produced by German MEP Maria Noichi, it read: “The rapporteur is calling on the Commission to consider whether it should lay down specific targets and penalties with a view to reducing the gender pay gap. Furthermore, if a better work-life balance is to be achieved, men will have to devote more time to housework and caring.”
The Fawcett Society, which campaigns for equality between women and men in the UK on pay, pensions, poverty, justice and politics, declined to comment on whether the EU was acting appropriately.
A spokeswoman told The Huffington Post UK: “What is appropriate is that the EU is striving to address the pay gap between men and women and improve the lives of children and families.”
Suggested For You
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more