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The Division of Household Labor

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  1. The Division of Household Labor Introduction to Family Studies

  2. Blog Assignments • 7 of 8 blog assignments MUST be completed by next Wed. a.m.

  3. APA Style • APA stands for American Psychological Association • http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/07/

  4. Why study the division of household labor? • Research on housework has implications for gender inequality in both the work and family spheres • Good example of the inter-relationship between two social institutions, the economy and families • Research on housework also highlights the interplay between the micro and macro levels • Study of housework shows how gender is socially constructed

  5. Why study the division of household labor? Unequal social change: Major change in one social institution -- the economy -- increase in the percentage of married women and mothers in the labor force is not met by similar change in -- families -- in the amount of household labor performed by married men/fathers


  6. Why study the division of household labor? Unequal social change: • In other words – married women and mothers have taken on more paid work responsibility but still devote more time to unpaid family work • While men have not “taken up the slack” at home in equal amounts of time or responsibility

  7. Division of Household Labor • Today we’ll examine the time spent on housework • By wives and husbands • By teen girls and boys

  8. Division of Household Labor • In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports: • 58.6 percent of women are in the civilian labor force -- up from 39 percent in 1950 • 77.2 percent of mothers with children ages 6 to 17 years of age work for pay Source: http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat03.htm

  9. Ages 6 - 17 Under age 6 Labor force participation rates for married women, by age of youngest child Ages 6-17 Under Age 6

  10. Paid Labor Force Participation • The increasing trend in women’s labor force participation rate flattened in the 1990s • Since 2000 the labor force participation rate has declined somewhat • Source: New York Times, 3/2/2006

  11. Has Women’s Labor Force Participation Slowed? • Recent article in the NY Times states “Stretched to the Limit, Women Stall March to Work” • Argument is that without more help with housework, working mothers have “hit a wall” • The increase in women’s labor force participation has helped fuel economic growth • But in the economic downturn labor force participation is down for both men and women Source: New York Times, 3/2/2006

  12. Unpaid work: The good news • According to a survey by John Robinson • From 1965 to 1985 the time men spent on household labor doubled from 4.6 hours per week to 10 hours per week • Over the same period, women reduced their time spent in housework from 27 hours to 20 hours

  13. Unpaid work: The bad news • It appears men are doing a larger proportion of housework and child care, but much of this change was due to women reducing their time on housework • Numerous studies based on different data sources show wives still perform about 2/3 of housework, even when they work full-time

  14. Unpaid work: The bad news • Data from the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH) collected from 6,882 husbands and wives on hours spent on 9 household chores

  15. Mean Number of Hours Spent on 9 Household Tasks per Week by Dual-Earner Spouses Source: NSFH, 1993

  16. Unpaid work: The bad news • Wives do a greater number of tasks than husbands • And they spend more time on housework • On average, dual-earner wives spent 32 hours each week on 9 household tasks • Dual-earner husbands spent only 19hours per week on same tasks

  17. Unpaid work: The bad news • These same wives spent on average 40 hours per week in paid labor • While, husbands spent 44 hours per week in paid labor • In sum, wives spent a total of 72 hours per week in paid and unpaid labor, while husbands spent 63 hours in paid and unpaid labor combined

  18. Unpaid work: The bad news • In other words, dual-earner wives spent 9 more hours per week working than their husbands • This adds up to 36 hours per month • Arlie Hochschild calls wives’ extra work the “Second Shift”

  19. Unpaid work: The worse news • Given significant changes in women’s lives: 1) Higher labor force participation rates 2) Changing attitudes toward more gender equality 3) Greater educational opportunities for girls… we might expect less gendered division of housework among children?

  20. Weekly hours Spent by Teens on Household Tasks, Grades 9 & 12

  21. Mean Hours Spent on Selected Activities – Grade 9 Source: Youth Development Survey

  22. Unpaid work: The worse news • In ninth grade, girls spend more time on paid work, homework, and housework than boys • Boys spend more time on extra-curricular activities across high school • Teen girls are already learning to multi-task by ninth grade • Girls and boys are growing up to expect a gendered and unfair division of labor

  23. Unpaid work: The bad news • At the same time, NSFH data also show that: • 90 percent of wives and 81 percent of husbands agree that couples who work full-time should share household tasks equally • 72 percent of dual-earner husbands and 66 percent of dual-earner wives say the division of household labor is fair to both spouses • What explains these conflicting data?

  24. Wives' & Husbands' Perceptions of Fairness of the Division of Household Labor

  25. Sex and Housework Link • My research shows a link between time spent on housework and sexual frequency among married couplesCheck out this article on our research in the Wall St. Journal • http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704500604574485351638147312.html • And Professor Gager on TV! • http://www.nbcnewyork.com/shows/lxnewyork/Does_the_Couple_That_Cleans_Together_Stay_Together__All__National_.html

  26. The Second Shift • Arlie Hochschild reviews data on the division of household labor • Shows that women are working a “second shift” of housework, after they work at their paid job • She also talks about how wives compare themselves to other women – not to their own husbands

  27. The Second Shift What is the stalled revolution? • Unequal social change • Women have entered the labor force, but men are not doing equal amounts of work in the home

  28. The Second Shift • Joey’s Problem: Nancy & Evan Holt • How did you answer the questions for Assignment 6? • Hochschild describes the family myths used by couple Nancy and Evan Holt • In other words, she tells the story they make up about their division of labor but what is the real story according to Hochschild?

  29. The Second Shift • Joey’s Problem: Nancy & Evan Holt • Assignment 6? • 1. According to Hochshcild, what is the “Second Shift?” • 2. Briefly describe the story of Evan and Nacy Holt. • 3. Hochschild argues that families create “myths” about their division of household labor. Describe the family myth created by Nancy and Evan Holt.

  30. The Second Shift • Joey’s Problem: Nancy & Evan Holt • Assignment 6? • 4. According to Hochschild, what is the purpose of family myths? • 5. Was this reading surprising to you and why? How do you imagine you will divide family work (including child care) in your own marriage or cohabitation?

  31. Families and unpaid work: Where do we go from here? • Summary • Girls and women perform more household labor than their male peers • Hochschild calls this the “Second Shift” • If women and girls continue to do more unpaid labor, will we see real change in gender inequality at the macro and micro levels? • If we do not close the gender gap at home, can we close the gender gap at work?