What Determines Change in the Division of Housework Over the Course of Marriage?
Title: What Determines Change in the Division of Housework Over the Course of Marriage?
Citation: International Sociology, 2012, 27, 3, 289-307
This article analyses the changing division of housework between husbands and wives in western Germany. Using representative longitudinal data from the Bamberg Panel Study of Married Couples, the authors analyse how the division of household labour changes over the first 14 years of marriage. In particular, they assess when and under what conditions the husband’s share of traditionally ‘female’ housework increases or decreases. They consider shifts in spouses’ employment hours, relative earnings and family transitions as time-varying predictor variables in event-history models. It is found that almost half of all newlyweds begin by sharing household tasks equally. But over the course of marriage, the husband’s contribution to housework declines significantly, mostly independent of spouses’ income or working hours. The husband increasing his share of housework is uncommon, even when the wife works longer hours or realizes higher earnings. Traditional gender norms seem to trump earnings. This is particularly true when children are born.
First published on February 9, 2012
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