Re-negotiating Gender

Household Division of Labor when She Earns More than He Does

  • Lake Lui

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Lake Lui
    Pages 1-15
  3. Lake Lui
    Pages 17-30
  4. Lake Lui
    Pages 31-39
  5. Lake Lui
    Pages 109-126
  6. Lake Lui
    Pages 127-135
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 137-154

About this book


In Chinese societies where both “money” and “gender” confer power, can a woman’s economic success relative to her husband’s bring about a more equal division of household labor? Lui’s qualitative study of “status-reversed” Hong Kong families, wherein wives earn more than their husbands, examines how couples re-negotiate household labor in ways that perpetuate male dominance within the family even when the traditional gender expectation that “men rule outside, women rule inside” (nanzhuwai, nuzhunei) is challenged. Going beyond the dyadic negotiation of household labor, this important study also explores the role of “third parties,” namely the couples’ children and parents, who actively encourage couples to conform to traditional gender norms, thereby reproducing an unequal division of household labor. Based upon the experiences of families with stay-at-home dads, Lui further identifies a new mechanism of deconstructing gender, by which couples concertedly construct new norms of "work" and "gender" that they maintain through daily interactions to fit their atypical relative earnings. As a result, there are sparks of hope that both men and women can be liberated from a set of traditional social norms. Re-negotiating Gender: Household Division of Labor When She Earns More than He Does is essential reading in the fields of family and gender studies, sociology, psychology, and East Asian studies.


Chinese society Doing gender Dual-earner couples Household division of labor Househusbands and housewives Male dominance Marital power Status-reversed Hong Kong families Stay-at-home dads Traditional gender ideology Traditional social norms Women's liberation

Authors and affiliations

  • Lake Lui
    • 1
  1. 1.SeattleUSA

Bibliographic information