Sex Roles

, Volume 55, Issue 5–6, pp 321–329 | Cite as

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

  • Rima R. Habib
  • Iman A. Nuwayhid
  • Joumana S. Yeretzian
Original Article


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 



This project was supported by grants from the Wellcome Trust, Mellon, and Ford Foundations. The authors thank Huda Zurayk and Cynthia Myntti for their comments on earlier drafts of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rima R. Habib
    • 1
  • Iman A. Nuwayhid
    • 1
  • Joumana S. Yeretzian
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Health SciencesAmerican University of BeirutNew YorkUSA

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