Here’s a loaded question for you: who’s better at multitasking, women or men?
It’s a an age-old hypothetical and I’m willing to bet that you answered “women, duh.”
It’s a pretty common answer that adheres to cultural stereotypes. If we look back on how society views multitasking, women are seen to have no trouble juggling children, a job, a household and a various other life tasks whereas men can barely function while doing one thing at a time.
But according to a new study published on PLOS One, it turns out that women are actually no better at multitasking than men are.
Researchers got 48 men and 48 women and tested their ability to swap between activities quickly, how well they identified letters and numbers, paying attention to two tasks at once and swapping attention between tasks.
After measuring the reaction times and accuracy for the tasks between the men and women, it was found that there was no notable difference between the groups and humans in general suck at the multitasking thing, period.
So you’re not wrong when you say “I suck at multitasking”, it’s just everyone else does as well.
If science dispels the whole mulitasking myth, why does it seem like women have it all sorted while men are next to useless when confronted with more than one task?
Well it’s because women simply work harder than men.
Despite more men spending time doing housework these days, a majority of it is still done by women. Australian bread-winning mothers end up spending four extra hours a week doing this sort of work compared to bread-winning fathers and it’s taking a heavy toll on their mental health.
Debunking this whole multitasking myth is important in ensuring workloads are evenly spread out but there’s more to be done beyond science telling us that we all suck at doing stuff.
Not only do women need affordable, high-quality childcare that’s widely available but men also need access to things like paternal leave and flexible work in order to help share the labour, especially with the steadily increasing number of dudes getting invested in equal sharing and co-parenting.
So to all those dudes who are helpless at juggling multiple tasks and chalking it up to women being better at multitasking, science says that myth is completely wrong and you need to take a leaf out of their book and simply work harder.