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Women in Finland more educated than men, but still do brunt of housework

A think-tank argues that women in Finland would do less housework if they could get tax breaks to outsource it.

Highly educated women's skills go down the drain the more cleaning and the less paid work they do. Image: AOP

While more educated on average than men, women in Finland still do more housework, according to a study by business think-tank EVA.

The report comes on the heels of calls to slash daycare fees to get more young mothers into paid work.

EVA, however, found that lowering income taxes and allowing for greater tax deductions on household services like cleaning would encourage highly educated women to work more outside the home.

The report entitled Kotityön kahleet, or "The shackles of housework", found that highly educated women in Finland do their own cleaning because sourcing outside help is too expensive in relation to taxes paid on earned income.

Data from national number cruncher Statistics Finland shows that women in Finland spend more time tending to domestic duties and less time on paid work than men.

"From a societal standpoint, it’s not good that highly educated women in highly productive jobs put time into housework instead of their careers. It means a part of their advanced education is wasted," EVA economist Sanna Kurronen argued in the report.

EVA: Lower taxes

The current government programme reduced tax deductions for household services from 2,400 to 2,250 euros per person annually.

EVA also takes aim at Finland’s progressive tax rate system, arguing that the marginal tax rate doesn’t encourage above-average-earners to put in as many hours as they could. That said, the think-tank proposes Finland lower income taxes.

Reducing taxes would also help create employment opportunities for less educated women, EVA argues, as highly educated women could theoretically afford to purchase more services.

EVA calls for income tax cuts across the board in Finland and for decision makers to model Sweden's system for household expense tax breaks, which allows for write-offs of up to 50 percent.