Original Article

Sex Roles

, Volume 68, Issue 5, pp 335-348

First online:

The Division of Paid Labor in Same-Sex Couples in the Netherlands

  • Eva JaspersAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology/ICS, Utrecht University Email author 
  • , Ellen VerbakelAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology/ICS, Radboud University Nijmegen

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This study examines the division of paid labor among gay male and lesbian couples in the Netherlands. We hypothesize that same-sex couples have a more equal division of paid labor than different-sex couples, partly because of lower marriage and fertility rates, and partly because equity norms are more strongly embraced regardless of family stage. Furthermore, we expect that traditional gender roles result in more hours of paid work by gay male couples than lesbian couples. Descriptive and OLS regression analyses are carried out on 13 waves of the Dutch Labor Force Surveys (1994–2007), which include 998 gay male couples and 1,033 lesbian couples. Results support all hypotheses: same-sex couples divide paid labor more equally than different-sex couples; lesbian couples specialize less after marriage or childbirth; and gay male couples work more hours than lesbian couples. We discuss how our findings can be translated across countries.


Same-sex couples Gender roles Working hours The Netherlands Survey research