SDG 5 aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Browse books and journal articles relating to this SDG below and find out more on the UN Sustainable Development Goals website.
Chapter 3 introduces the National Survey of Families and Households data and situates the respondents in the social, political, and economic context of the late 1980s. The chapter then presents descriptive data the relationships of gender, race, age, union status, income, education, metropolitan status, region, and religious affiliation to the division of household labor.
Chapter 4 presents findings from couple-level data from the National Study of Families and Households (Wave 1). We employ latent profile analysis to describe categories, or classes, of couples. We found that couples fell into five categories: Ultra-traditional, Traditional, Transitional Husbands, Egalitarian, and Egalitarian High Workload. This chapter presents the profiles of each of these classes of couples based upon their joint division of labor. The analysis is unique in that we use self-reported data from each spouse in order to document patterns across the 3,906 couples for whom we have complete data.
Power dynamics in one’s family of origin shape internalized notions of normative family relationships. Therefore, the division of housework in one’s family of origin socializes children to hold specific attitudes and beliefs about how relationships should work. We examine this hypothesized empirical relationship in Chapter 9 of the book by using Latent Profile Analysis to identify profiles for the adult children of the NSFH couples used to construct the five housework classes (Ultra-traditional, Traditional, Transitional Husbands, Egalitarian, and Egalitarian High Workload). We found three classes for adult female children (Ultra-traditional, Traditional, and Nontraditional) and three classes for adult male children (Traditional, Transitional, and Nontraditional). Children responded to their parental division of labor in gendered ways, providing evidence for not only the parental socialization of housework behaviors but also the challenges faced by women and men in the changing cultural climate of the United States around gender and family responsibilities.
Chapter 5 describes each of the classes documented in the book (Ultra-traditional, Traditional, Transitional Husbands, Egalitarian, and Egalitarian High Workload) based upon couple and individual demographic characteristics. Not only do we include basic demographic characteristics (e.g., race, religion, and marital distribution) but we also document how measures of power are distributed across the classes. We also describe who is in each of the five housework classes based upon labor market characteristics, income, and gender ideology.
Chapter 6 examines a key component of the book’s argument, namely whether there are patterns across the five housework classes (Ultra-traditional, Traditional, Transitional Husbands, Egalitarian, and Egalitarian High Workload) in other behavioral as well as attitudinal measures of power. In this chapter we investigate spousal preferences in their own and their spouse’s labor market hours as a measure of being able to enact power. We also examine reported conflict, disagreements, and intimate partner violence, all behaviors that reflect power dynamics in a couple. These findings provide important evidence for our argument that understanding housework dynamics can provide insights into other dynamics in couples and thus be a useful tool for practitioners working with families in crisis.
To examine the effectiveness of our argument that housework can be used to understand power in families, we apply our theoretical framework across the family life course. In this chapter we empirically examine patterns across the five housework classes (Ultra-traditional, Traditional, Transitional Husbands, Egalitarian, and Egalitarian High Workload) regarding shifts in measures of power. We focus on changes in labor market participation, income, and occupational prestige from NSFH Wave 1 to Wave 2. We find that couples where women secured more economic resources at a pace similar to their husbands were more likely to be more egalitarian in their division of housework over time. However, couples where women secured resources while men did not were likely to exhibit gender deviance neutralization and a traditional division of labor at the second interview.
This concluding chapter of the book summarizes our key findings, focusing on the evidence of housework as a proxy for understanding power dynamics in couples. We present suggestions for practitioners based upon the changing demographics of the United States along side our insights from the Latent Profile and Latent Trajectory Analyses described in the book. We conclude with suggestions for family scholars interested in trying to understand power dynamics in intimate relationships.
Chapter 7 of the book reports the results of Latent Trajectory Analysis examining stability and change in class membership over time. Using data from Waves 1 and 2 of the NSFH we document change and stability in class membership in the five classes (Ultra-traditional, Traditional, Transitional Husbands, Egalitarian, and Egalitarian High Workload). We describe the couple and individual level characteristics associated with both change and stability as well as the new class profiles in Wave 2. We find great change in housework class over the time period studied with some couples becoming more egalitarian and others more traditional in their division of labor. Patterns in this change over time are presented and discussed.
In Chapter 2 of the book we provide a review of the theoretical and empirical scholarship that has studied housework and document how power dynamics have been integral to both strands of scholarship. We present reviews of time availability, relative resources, bargaining, gender ideology, and economic dependence perspectives. We explain how power has been implicit in previous theorizing than then present our argument for the use of housework to understand power within the social exchange that is an intimate relationship.
Chapter 1 serves as the introduction to the book. While housework is a frequent object of scholarly inquiry, in part because of its ubiquitous appearance across household types, we argue that it can be used to understand more than simply who does what around the house. Housework provides insight into the power dynamics in intimate relationships. After explaining resource-based and social psychological/symbolic perspectives for understanding the division of housework, the chapter concludes with a detailed summary of the remainder of the book.