Fifty years of change updated: Cross-national gender convergence in housework

Evrim Altintas, Oriel Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Scopus citations


Background Gendered trends in housework provide an important insight into changing gender inequality. In particular, they shed light on the debate over the stalling of the 'gender revolution'. Additionally, the gender division of housework is significantly related to couple well-being; disagreements over housework are among the major sources of marital conflict. Objective The objective is to bring the evidence on gendered trends in time spent on core housework up to date, and to investigate cross-national variation in those trends. Methods Using 66 time use surveys from 19 countries, we apply a random-intercept, random-slope model to investigate half a century of change in gender differences in housework (1961-2011). Results There is a general movement in the direction of greater gender equality, but with significant country differences in both the level and the pace of convergence. Specifically, there was a slowing of gender convergence from the late 1980s in those countries where men and women's time in housework was already more equal, with steeper gender convergence continuing in those countries where the gender division of housework was less equal. Conclusions Our findings support the view that despite short-term stalls, slow-downs, and even reverses, as well as important differences in national policy contexts, the overall cross-national picture shows a continuing trend towards greater gender equality in the performance of housework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-470
Number of pages16
JournalDemographic Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography


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