Original Article

Sex Roles

, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 321-329

First online:

Paid Work and Domestic Labor in Disadvantaged Communities on the Outskirts of Beirut, Lebanon

  • Rima R. HabibAffiliated withFaculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut Email author 
  • , Iman A. NuwayhidAffiliated withFaculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut
  • , Joumana S. YeretzianAffiliated withFaculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut

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This article explored the association between economic activity and the contribution to domestic labor in a Middle Eastern society. Analyses were carried out on cross-sectional survey data from 5,998 individuals, aged between 18 and 64 years, in three poor communities in the suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon. Domestic labor was evaluated with a composite index that takes into account both the type of task performed and the level of involvement. Housework categories included core household chores, care giving, financial management, home management, and home/car maintenance. Results showed that women continue to do most of the domestic labor in the three communities. However, women’s load of domestic labor decreased as they joined the labor market, whereas men’s contribution to domestic labor increased with involvement in paid work. Relatively speaking, the difference in contribution to housework between house members engaged and not engaged in paid labor was much higher for women than it was for men.


Domestic labor Housework Paid work Patriarchy Middle East Lebanon