Gender and the Division of Labor

  • Scott Coltrane
  • Kristy Y. Shih


This chapter focuses on the division of labor between women and men and the distinction commonly drawn between domestic work and paid work. Work performed directly in the service of families – including housework and childcare – is often unacknowledged because of cultural assumptions that a wife or mother should do it in the privacy of the home. Paid work, on the other hand, is much more public and historically associated with men. Holding a job and earning a salary has been considered to be a husband’s traditional family obligation, whereas tending to home and children traditionally has been considered a wife’s primary obligation (even if she also works outside the home).


Marital Satisfaction Household Labor Household Task Lesbian Couple Housework Time 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott Coltrane
    • 1
  • Kristy Y. Shih
    • 2
  1. 1.University of OregonEugeneUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

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