Traditional gender roles are stubbornly refusing to shift when it comes to the family breadwinner, a long-term survey has found, with men enjoying substantially higher pay than female providers while doing less work around the house.
The latest Housing Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey (HILDA) shows that dual-income couples have risen significantly since 2001, however the number of households where a woman earns a majority of the income has barely changed.
Women earned more than men in a quarter of households in 2017, up from 22 per cent in 2001, according to the survey, which tracks the same group of 17,500 people in 9500 households over the course of their lives.
The analysis of opposite-sex couples paints a picture of family life which is still heavily rooted in the conventional labour split, with women staying at home to look after children while men go to work.
When women are the chief provider, they earn a lower income than men - $73,988 on average per year, compared to $107,366 - and are less likely to work full time.
HILDA lead author Professor Roger Wilkins said the concept of the high-earning woman choosing to work while the man stays at home to look after the family was still uncommon.
"On average, that's not what female breadwinner couples look like," he said.
Unlike men, being the chief breadwinner as a woman did not mean the other partner took on most of the domestic labour.
Men performed an average of five hours less housework and eight hours less child care in households where women were the primary earner.
Female breadwinners in households with children did the most unpaid weekly work of any group: 43.4 hours. Male breadwinners, in comparison, did 26.2 hours.
"In the absence of these social norms and gender roles you might have thought there would be more couples where it makes sense for the women to be the primary breadwinner," Professor Wilkins said.
"We've become set in our ways is one way of looking at it."
Samantha White, 29, earns $158,000 a year as a project manager at a major Australian telecommunications company and is the main income earner for her family.
Her husband, Steve, is a carpenter and dropped down to working three days per week when their first child, Imogen, was born 10 months ago.
As the family's main income earner, Ms White budgets the weekly shopping and manages the household bills, monitoring their expenses to make sure they stay on track.
Providing for her family is a source of pride, but Ms White says the role also comes with a lot of pressure, and a little resentment.
"I feel like at times I'm working a lot harder to provide for us," she said.
In terms of household work, the couple cook together each night but when it comes to cleaning, Ms White said she still does 90 per cent of the work.
Recently, she's made an effort to encourage her husband to do more, but says there are good weeks and bad weeks.
"From my point of view there is an expectation that a little bit more could be done by him," she said.
"But it's pretty natural, women tend to see things like we could do the vacuum or the dishes, there's a lot of washing that could be done. Men tend to push that to the back of their minds and carry on with whatever is more interesting to them directly."
The young family have just bought their first home in Warburton, trading off proximity to the city in an effort to crack into the housing market.
If there are no changes to the family's income, they could pay off their mortgage within 15 years.
Ms White said she was lucky to have flexibility in her employment, which allowed her to work from an office at her nearby parents' house.
That allowed her to save on commuting time and childcare costs, which, according to the HILDA survey, have both risen dramatically since the survey began.
Weekly spending on childcare has jumped from $62 to $153 in 15 years, while the average daily commute time has soared from 49 minutes to one hour.