Domestic Outsourcing, Housework Shares and Subjective Time Pressure: Gender Differences in the Correlates of Hiring Help

Abstract

We use data from matched dual earner couples from the Australian Time Use Survey 2006 (n = 926 couples) to investigate predictors of different forms of domestic outsourcing, and whether using each type of paid help is associated with reduced time in male or female-typed tasks, narrower gender gaps in housework time and/or lower subjective time pressure. Results suggest domestic outsourcing does not substitute for much household time, reduces domestic time for men at least as much as for women, and does not ameliorate gender gaps in domestic labor. The only form of paid help associated with significant change in gender shares of domestic work was gardening and maintenance services, which were associated with women doing a greater share of the household total domestic work. We found no evidence that domestic outsourcing reduced feelings of time pressure. We conclude that domestic outsourcing is not effective in ameliorating time pressures or in changing gender dynamics of unpaid work.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). (2009). Australian Social Trends Cat No. 4102.0. www.abs.gov.au: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). (2012). Childhood education and care, Australia, June 2011. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

  3. Baxter, J. (2002). Patterns of change and stability in the gender division of household labour in Australia, 1996–1997. Journal of Sociology, 38, 399–424.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Baxter, J. (2005). To marry or not to marry: Marital status and the household division of labour. Journal of Family Issues, 26, 300–321.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Baxter, J., Hewitt, B., & Western, M. (2009). Who uses paid domestic labor in Australia? Choice and constraint in hiring household help. Feminist Economics, 15, 1–26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Bergmann, B. (2005). The economic emergence of women (2nd ed.). New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Berk, S. F. (1985). The gender factory: The apportionment of work in American households. New York: Plenum.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Bianchi, S., Milkie, M., Sayer, L., et al. (2000). Is anyone doing the housework? Trends in the gender division of household labor. Social Forces, 79, 191–228.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Bianchi, S., Robinson, J., & Milkie, M. (2006). Changing rhythms of American family life. New York: Russell Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Bittman, M., Craig, L., & Folbre, N. (2004). Packaging care: What happens when parents utilize non-parental child care. In N. Folbre & M. Bittman (Eds.), Family time: The social organization of care (pp. 133–151). London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Bittman, M., England, P., Sayer, L., et al. (2003). When does gender trump money? Bargaining and time in household work. American Journal of Sociology, 109, 186–214.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Bittman, M., Meagher, G., & Matheson, G. (1999). The changing boundary between home and market. Australian trends in outsourcing domestic labour. Work, Employment and Society, 13, 249–273.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Brines, J. (1994). Economic dependency, gender and the division of labour at home. American Journal of Sociology, 100, 652–688.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Brown, J., & Dunn, P. (2011). Comparisons of Tobit, linear regression and Poisson-gamma regression models: An application of time use data. Sociological Methods and Research., 40, 511–535.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Buis M. (2006) Proportions as dependent variable. 12th UK Stata Users Group Meeting. London.

  16. Cassells, R., McNamara, J., Lloyd, R., et al. (2005) Perceptions of child care affordability and availability in Australia: What the HILDA survey tells us. Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference. Melbourne.

  17. Cohen, P. (1998). Replacing housework in the service economy: Gender, class and race-ethnicity in service spending. Gender & Society, 12, 219–231.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Cooke, L. P. (2010). The politics of housework. In J. Treas & S. Drobnic (Eds.), Dividing the domestic, men, women, & household work in cross-national perspective. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Craig, L. (2007). Is there really a “second shift”, and if so, who does it? A time-diary investigation. Feminist Review, 86, 149–170.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Craig, L., & Brown, J. (forthcoming). Nonstandard employment and nonwork activities, time alone and with others: Can weekend workers make up lost time? Journal of Industrial Relations.

  21. Craig, L., & Mullan, K. (2011). How mothers and fathers share childcare: A cross-national time-diary comparison. American Sociological Review, 76, 834–861.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Craig, L., & Powell, A. (2013). Non-parental childcare, time pressure and the gendered division of paid work, domestic work and parental childcare. Community, Work and Family, 16, 100–119.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. de Ruijter, E., Treas, J., & Cohen, P. (2005). Outsourcing the gender factory: Living arrangements and service expenditures on female and male tasks. Social Forces, 84, 305–322.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Duncan, S., & Edwards, R. (2003). State welfare regimes, mothers’ agencies and gendered moralities. In K. Kollind & A. Peterson (Eds.), Thoughts of family, gender, generation and class: a festschrift to Ulla Bjornberg. Sociology Institute: Goteberg.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Fisher, K., Egerton, M., Gershuny, J., et al. (2007). Gender convergence in the American heritage time use study (AHTUS). Social Indicators Research, 82, 1–33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Fuwa, M. (2004). Macro-level gender inequality and the division of household labor in 22 countries. American Sociological Review, 69, 751–767.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Geist, C. (2005). The welfare state and the home: Regime differences in the domestic division of labour. European Sociological Review, 21, 23–41.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Geist, C., & Cohen, P. (2011). Headed toward equality? Housework change in comparative perspective. Journal of Marriage and Family, 73, 832–844.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Gershuny, J. (2004). Domestic equipment does not increase domestic work: A Response to Bittman, Rice and Wajcman. British Journal of Sociology, 55, 425–431.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Gornick, J., & Meyers, M. (2003). Families that work: Policies for reconciling parenthood and employment. New York: Russell Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Greenstein, T. (2000). Economic dependence, gender and the division of labour in the home. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 322–335.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Gupta, S. (2006). Her money, her time: Women’s earnings and their housework hours. Social Science Research, 69, 399–417.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Gupta, S., & Ash, M. (2008). Whose money, whose Time? A non-paramentric approach to modelling time spent on housework in the United States. Feminist Economics, 14, 93–120.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Hochschild, A. (1997). The time bind: When work becomes home and home becomes work. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Hook, J. (2010). Gender inequality in the welfare state: Sex segregation in housework, 1965–2003. American Journal of Sociology, 115, 1480–1523.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Jacobs, J., & Gerson, K. (2004). The time divide: Work, family, and gender inequality. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Killewald, A. (2011). Opting out and buying out: Wives’ earnings and housework time. Journal of Marriage and Family, 73, 459–471.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Killewald, A., & Gough, M. (2010). Money isn’t everything: Wives’ earnings and housework time. Social Science Research, 39, 987–1003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Lachance-Grzela, M., & Bouchard, G. (2010). Why do women do the lion’s share of housework? A decade of research. Sex Roles, 63, 767–780.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Lewis, J. (2009). Work-family balance, Gender and Policy. Cheltenham, UK, Northhampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Mattingly, M., & Sayer, L. (2006). Under pressure: Gender differences in the relationship between free time and feeling rushed. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 68, 205–221.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Oropesa, R. S. (1993). Using the service economy to relieve the double burden : Female labor force participation and service purchases. Journal of Family Issues, 14, 438–473.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Papke, L., & Wooldridge, J. (1996). Econometric methods for fractional response variables with an application to 401(K) plan participation rates. Journal of Applied Econometrics, 11, 619–632.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Pocock, B., Skinner, N., & Williams, P. (2012). Time Bomb. Work rest and play in Australia today. Sydney: NewSouth Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Sayer, L. (2005). Gender, time and inequality: Trends in women’s and men’s paid work, unpaid work and free time. Social Forces, 84, 285–303.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Schor, J. B. (1991). The overworked American: The unexpected decline of leisure. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Sousa-Poza, A., Schmid, H., & Widmer, R. (2001). The allocation and value of time assigned to housework and childcare: An analysis for Switzerland. Journal of Population Economics, 14, 599–618.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Stewart J. (2009) Tobit or not tobit?. BLS Working Paper No 432. Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  49. Strazdins, L., Griffin, A., Broom, D., et al. (2011). Time scarcity: Another health inequality? Environment and Planning, 43, 545–559.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Sullivan, O. (2006). Changing gender relations, changing families: Tracing the pace of change over time. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Sullivan, O., & Gershuny, J. (2013). Domestic outsourcing and multitasking: How much do they really contribute? Social Science Research, 42, 1311–1324.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Tijdens, K., van der Lippe, T., & de Ruijter, E. (2003). Working women’s choices for domestic help: The effects of financial and time resources. Working Paper 2003-17. Amsterdam: Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.

  53. Van der Lippe, T., Tijdens, K., & de Ruijter, E. (2004). Outsourcing of domestic tasks and timesaving effects. Journal of Family Issues, 25, 216–240.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Van Egmond, M., Baxter, J., Buchler, S., et al. (2010). A Stalled Revolution? Gender role attitudes in Australia, 1986–2005. Journal of Population Research, 27, 147–168.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Wight, V., Price, J., Bianchi, S., et al. (2009). The time use of teenagers. Social Science Research, 38, 792–809.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Windebank, J. (2007). Outsourcing women’s domestic labour: The Chèque Emploi-Service Universel in France. Journal of European Social Policy, 17, 257–270.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lyn Craig.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Craig, L., Baxter, J. Domestic Outsourcing, Housework Shares and Subjective Time Pressure: Gender Differences in the Correlates of Hiring Help. Soc Indic Res 125, 271–288 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-014-0833-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Gender division of labor
  • Domestic outsourcing
  • Housework shares
  • Time pressure