Happiness is a state of mind. In the traditional world – it is escape from the unpleasant. Its a race – running faster than the unpleasant can "hit" you! 🙂 So, far men have proved to be faster than women. Over the years, women have progressively become un-happier. They had always assumed that home-making provided unpleasant experiences… so they moved to work-place… guess what? That was worse!!
But I guess since men were ahead on the curve.. they started managing things in a way that could lead them away from the unpleasant and make them happier!
Two new research papers, using very different methods, have both come to this conclusion. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, economists at the University of Pennsylvania (and a couple), have looked at the traditional happiness data, in which people are simply asked how satisfied they are with their overall lives. In the early 1970s, women reported being slightly happier than men. Today, the two have switched places.
Mr. Krueger, analyzing time-use studies over the last four decades, has found an even starker pattern. Since the 1960s, men have gradually cut back on activities they find unpleasant. They now work less and relax more.
Over the same span, women have replaced housework with paid work — and, as a result, are spending almost as much time doing things they don’t enjoy as in the past. Forty years ago, a typical woman spent about 23 hours a week in an activity considered unpleasant, or 40 more minutes than a typical man. Today, with men working less, the gap is 90 minutes.
These trends are reminiscent of the idea of “the second shift,” the name of a 1989 book by the sociologist Arlie Hochschild, arguing that modern women effectively had to hold down two jobs. The first shift was at the office, and the second at home.