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Discussion Research Post: Household Division of Labour

EssayChat / Nov 13, 2018

Coming from a modern European household growing up and currently, more time there has been a noticeable shift in division of labour. Just as an observation, the shift means there is increased interaction with the father with his children and care. There is also a slight increase of his involvement with time management of household chores although his role is still smaller than the female's. Both Altintas and Sullivan and Wax see evidence pointing to household distribution of labour in terms of work-life balance where the female has a greater role in labour regardless of her full time employment status.

Household LabourColtrane finds distribution becomes an issue where patterns shift after children enter the household. Coltrane reports many household activities are shared but that the female bears the major responsibility of child care. The child care changes the level of perceived fairness, presents possible resentment if not discussed, and the pattern changes to balance between mother and father.

This is true of the household in which I grew up and the household I live in now. At the heart of the home is mother. We were constantly seeking her involvement, she advice, and ultimately, her permission. Our father was either busy working, watching the games on television, or working on a woodworking project. Mother had other hobbies but much of her interests turned to us kids. She works just as much as father but also, it seemed time was always short for what she wanted to do. Aside from her birthday or holidays, yet, as we got older, she joined a book club and Facebook helped her hang out with old friends. I did notice how she managed the house from kitchen (she loves to cook) to finances and even involvement with our school projects. It was clear that my parents enjoyed this arrangement and it is possible this may be learned from what they saw their parents do.


Altintas, E., & Sullivan, O. (2017). Trends in Fathers' Contribution to Housework and Childcare under Different Welfare Policy Regimes. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, 24(1), 81-108.

Coltrane, S. R. (1989). Household labor and the routine production of gender. Social problems, 36(5), 473-490.

Schieman, S., Ruppanner, L., & Milkie, M. A. (2017). Who Helps with Homework? Parenting Inequality and Relationship Quality Among Employed Mothers and Fathers. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 1-17.

Wax, A. (2017). Family and Household Economics. The Oxford Handbook of Law and Economics: Volume 2: Private and Commercial Law.

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