Housework Revisited: A Cross-National Comparison of Cohabiting and Married Parents

Christina M. Wolfe, Pennsylvania State University

In this paper I examine time use data from four countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Norway – to investigate the impact of relationship type on household labor among parents. I focus on the implication of relationship status for gender equality among households with children. By examining the effect of union type on division of household labor among parents, I provide evidence that gendered divisions of labor persist across union type. Married mothers spend the greatest number of minutes in household labor followed by cohabiting mothers. However among cohabiting parents, women still spend more time in household labor than do men. My results suggest that division of household labor provides an important window into gender relations within marital relationships and extend this finding to nonmarital parenting relationships as well.

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