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Undoing Gender in Housework? Participation in Domestic Chores by Italian Fathers and Children of Different Ages

Abstract

The present article questions whether and to what extent daughters and sons learn how to “do gender” in housework in Italy, a country with low levels of societal gender equality. Using nationally representative time use survey data from Italy (Italian National Institute of Statistics, 2014, waves 2002–2003 and 2008–2009), where daily time use diaries are collected for entire households, logistic models investigate to what extent children (age 6–12), teenagers (age 13–19), and young adults (ages 20–25) participate in domestic chores and whether paternal involvement in housework (controlling for parental education and employment status) is positively associated with children’s participation in domestic chores. The results indicate that daughters are more likely to engage in domestic chores than are sons at all ages and that the gender gap is wider among young adults and teenagers than among children. Moreover, although both sons and daughters are more likely to engage in housework if their father does so, the effect of paternal involvement is much stronger for sons than daughters. These patterns suggest that the learning of housework is a gendered process—a finding that has important implications for the reproduction of gender inequalities in Italy and possibly elsewhere.

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Correspondence to Giulia Maria Dotti Sani.

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Dotti Sani, G.M. Undoing Gender in Housework? Participation in Domestic Chores by Italian Fathers and Children of Different Ages. Sex Roles 74, 411–421 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-016-0585-2

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Keywords

  • Division of labor
  • Family relations
  • Socialization
  • Social norms
  • Childrearing practices
  • Father child relations