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Women call the shots, study finds

In most couples, women are the decision-makers.

By Kristin Wong Dec 5, 2012 4:55PM

James Brown told us that it's a man's world, but this study might beg to differ. According to the Pew Research Center, it's women who have the final say on many household decisions.

Photo: Stefanie Sudek-Mensch/Getty ImagesThe organization interviewed over 1,000 adults who were married or living with a partner and asked them who was in charge of making the decisions in four areas of domestic life. For a whopping 43 percent of couples, women are calling the shots. Men make the decisions in only 26 percent of relationships, the study found, while 31 percent of couples say they divide the decisions equally.

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So what are the four areas in which women are wearing the pants?

Weekend plans

For 46 percent of couples, weekend plans are made together. But for those couples in which one partner primarily has control, it's the woman calling the shots. Twenty-eight percent of couples said that the woman decides what to do on weekends, while only 16 percent of couples put the man in charge of those activities.

Major household purchases

Again, nearly half of couples have equal control over the decisions in this area. But in those couples with one person in control, that person is the woman. In 30 percent of couples surveyed, the woman decides on big purchases for the home. That number was 19 percent for men.

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Managing the finances

The study found that women are more likely than men to manage the household finances (38 percent vs. 30 percent). Interestingly, couples are more likely to share decision making about weekend plans than the household budget. Only 28 percent of couples manage the finances together.

Television viewing

And finally, who controls the remote? This is the one area that was the most evenly split, with women deciding what to watch in 27 percent of relationships and men controlling the remote in 26 percent.

Overall, more women (15 percent) than men (9 percent) take the lead in making decisions in three or more of these areas.

What do you think—who calls the shots in your relationship?

Bing: 2012 divorce rate?
Photo: Stefanie Sudek-Mensch/Getty Images

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223Comments
Dec 5, 2012 6:45PM
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Let the person who enjoys making the choice, and is good at doing so, make the choices.

One of the plusses, and sometimes minuses, about a gay relationship is that nothing is predetermined going into the relationship, everything has to be worked out.  You build from who likes to do what, who makes more money, who is more career focussed, who is better at social things, etc, etc.  instead of some predetermined list of who does what.  It forces you to communicate which is vital in every relationship!

 

Dec 5, 2012 6:42PM
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The man is the head of the household, but the woman is the neck.
Dec 5, 2012 6:42PM
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Women rule the roost......you all just figuring this out...KIDS!
Dec 5, 2012 6:41PM
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Most women are intelligent and most men know it. Of course they would ask their opinion on things like large purchases. I really wonder, though. In my family, we don't do all this "planning the weekend together." We each have our interests, some shared, and we mostly make independent decisions about our activities. And notice it says when "one person is in control" on major household purchases. I suspect women make the decisions when the men just don't want to be bothered--not because the woman is personally driven to do it. That is how that works in our family. "Television viewing" is laughable! Most middle class families have multiple TVs and/or DVRs and people watch what they individually choose to watch most of the time. The article isn't very convincing of anything, in my opinion.
Dec 5, 2012 6:39PM
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So what's new here...women have been calling the shots since the dawn of mankind..exploiting the male sex drive..plain and f****** simple
Dec 5, 2012 6:35PM
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We make major decisions together. As far as weekend or travel plans, I spent years begging my husband to participate, he never would.  His lack of participation told me that he didn't care or didn't want to participate.

Finally, a few years ago I told him to stop relying on me to make all the decisions.  He does participate somewhat now, but it's like pulling teeth.

When our children were small he also had a really difficult time making a decision for small stuff, like should he give them peanut butter and jelly or some other sandwich.

I no longer ask him to pick up even simple things at the store on his way home because I get a dozen text messages with questions.  For goodness sake just buy a loaf of bread.

Is this common among men? Is it because men just want their wife to be happy? Is it because they really don't care?

Please don't take this as complaining, he is a wonderful husband and father. I love him with all my heart.

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You know why women call the shots? Because the men could care less. I tend to think that we would rather have our spouses feel included and appreciated in the decision making process and we value how they want to have things done.  Something about a cave with beer and a tv just sounds very satisfying to men... women want all the comfy extras and so to make sure they're happy too we're gonna let them have them!

Amazing what a little love will do.

Dec 5, 2012 6:33PM
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Ok feminists: now you can't blame men for screwing up the modern world or oppressing you, because according to this your gender is already the one in charge.
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