Why Do Women Do the Lion’s Share of Housework? A Decade of Research

Abstract

The body of recent American research indicates that women continue to perform the vast majority of household labor. Understanding the conditions under which couples can achieve an egalitarian division of household labor constitutes one of the first steps in attaining gender equity in the private and public spheres. This article discusses the state of research on the division of household labor published between 2000 and 2009. After a discussion of conceptualization and methodological issues, we review empirical findings that support or challenge the micro- and macro-level perspectives (focusing on individual characteristics and national contexts, respectively) that have been proposed to explain the gendered allocation of labor. We then review studies focusing on the interplay between these two prominent perspectives.

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Acknowledgement

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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Correspondence to Mylène Lachance-Grzela.

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Lachance-Grzela, M., Bouchard, G. Why Do Women Do the Lion’s Share of Housework? A Decade of Research. Sex Roles 63, 767–780 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-010-9797-z

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Keywords

  • Couples
  • Division of household labor
  • Gender
  • Housework