The Effect of Audience Composition on the Gendered Performance of Housework

Daniel Schneider, Princeton University
Christopher S. Marcum, RAND Corporation
Judith Treas, University of California, Irvine

A contentious empirical literature has used the performance of housework by men and women to assess gender display theory. However, while theory stresses the importance of interactions between men and women and those who would hold them accountable for gender, empirical work to date has not actually examined that dynamic. We analyze data from the 2003-2008 American Time Use Survey to assess if men and women perform male- and female-typed housework while in the presence of others. We find that women do a larger share of their female-typed housework in the presence of others than do men and that men do a larger share of their male-typed housework in the presence of others than do women, evidence suggestive of gender display. However, this dynamic appears to be confined to "audiences'' of children, which we argue reveals this behavior to be more likely the result of gender socialization than gender display.

  See paper

Presented in Session 119: Gender Roles, Household Labor, and Parenting