Gender Inequalities in the 21st Century

Gender Inequalities in the 21st Century

New Barriers and Continuing Constraints

Edited by Jacqueline Scott, Rosemary Crompton and Clare Lyonette

Both women and men strive to achieve a work and family balance, but does this imply more or less equality? Does the persistence of gender and class inequalities refute the notion that lives are becoming more individualised? Leading international authorities document how gender inequalities are changing and how many inequalities of earlier eras are being eradicated. However, this book shows there are new barriers and constraints that are slowing progress in attaining a more egalitarian society. Taking the new global economy into account, the expert contributors to this book examine the conflicts between different types of feminisms, revise old debates about ‘equality’ and ‘difference’ in the gendered nature of work and care, and propose new and innovative policy solutions.

Chapter 7: Gender Segregation and Bargaining in Domestic Labour: Evidence from Longitudinal Time-use Data

Man Yee Kan and Jonathan Gershuny

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, development studies, family and gender policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy, family and gender policy, labour policy


Man Yee Kan and Jonathan Gershuny It is well known that nowadays in the UK and other developed countries, women still undertake the bulk of housework (Gershuny 1992; Kan 2008; Layte 1999). Although some studies suggest that the gender gap in household labour participation has been gradually closing over the past three decades, the change appears to have been slow so that, for example, full-time employed women in the 1980s and 1990s were still responsible for more than 60 per cent of housework (Gershuny and Robinson 1988; Sullivan 2000). Previous studies on the domestic division of labour were usually based on cross-sectional data and tended to focus on routine types of housework, such as cleaning, cooking and washing the dishes, rather than on care for family members and less gender-traditional types of household work, such as household repairs, gardening and grocery shopping. A major aim of this chapter is to identify whether gender segregation exists in these two broad types of domestic labour. We expect to find that the gender divide in the domestic division of labour is more rigid in the case of routine housework, and that the social mechanisms that explain the gender gap in these two major types of domestic work are not entirely the same. It is because routine housework (for example cooking and washing up) tends be carried out on a daily basis and can be less flexibly adjusted according to one’s work schedule compared with non-routine types of housework (for example shopping and gardening)...

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