Attitudes towards sharing housework in couple context: An empirical, factorial survey approach
Keywords:unpaid family work, division of labor, experimental methods, gender, Germany, couple context, equity, exchange
Objective: This study measured and compared the attitudes of German women and men towards sharing total housework, routine housework and non-routine housework in couples.
Background: Although attitudes towards gender roles and the notion of separate spheres are important for understanding many aspects of family life, knowledge about situational variations of women’s and men’s attitudes towards housework sharing is limited.
Method: Original data from a factorial survey of 1,120 German women and men from 2016 were used to describe variations in the attitudes of women and men towards three sets of housework using multilevel regression models.
Results: Women and men expressed their attitudes towards equal sharing of total and routine housework, but non-routine housework was assigned to male partners in couples. Attitudes differed widely according to the context of the couple: In couples with similar economic resources, respondents favored equal sharing of housework, and in couples with unequal arrangements, the partner with fewer resources was tied to more housework and vice versa.
Conclusion: When evaluating housework responsibilities, women and men in this study seemed to follow the principles of equity and balanced exchange.