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Measuring the Division of Household Labor

Measuring the Division of Household Labor Despite a large body of research on the household division of labor, surprisingly little is known about how husbands and wives divide their family work time across a variety of domestic tasks. What differentiates couples exhibiting gender specialization or segregation in household tasks from those couples who share tasks? Using newly released data from the National Survey of Families and Households, this study has two major objectives. First, a new summary measure of the gender-based segregation of family labor is presented. Second, sources of intercouple variation in the sex segregation of household labor are examined, focusing especially on the effects of time availability, family power, and gender role ideology. The results indicate that, even in the late 1980s, American couples exhibited highly sex-segregated family work patterns, including those couples in which the male partner contributes many hours to housework. The study shows that American males would have to reallocate over 60% of their family work time to other tasks before sex equality in the division of labor is achieved. The analysis indicates that this gender-based division of family work is symptomatic of continuing gender inequality and gender role socialization in American society. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Family Issues SAGE

Measuring the Division of Household Labor

Journal of Family Issues , Volume 12 (1): 23 – Mar 1, 1991

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References (31)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
Copyright © by SAGE Publications
ISSN
0192-513X
eISSN
1552-5481
DOI
10.1177/019251391012001007
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Despite a large body of research on the household division of labor, surprisingly little is known about how husbands and wives divide their family work time across a variety of domestic tasks. What differentiates couples exhibiting gender specialization or segregation in household tasks from those couples who share tasks? Using newly released data from the National Survey of Families and Households, this study has two major objectives. First, a new summary measure of the gender-based segregation of family labor is presented. Second, sources of intercouple variation in the sex segregation of household labor are examined, focusing especially on the effects of time availability, family power, and gender role ideology. The results indicate that, even in the late 1980s, American couples exhibited highly sex-segregated family work patterns, including those couples in which the male partner contributes many hours to housework. The study shows that American males would have to reallocate over 60% of their family work time to other tasks before sex equality in the division of labor is achieved. The analysis indicates that this gender-based division of family work is symptomatic of continuing gender inequality and gender role socialization in American society.

Journal

Journal of Family IssuesSAGE

Published: Mar 1, 1991

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