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Gender and the Division of Household Labor in Older Couples: A European Perspective
Article from Bulletin/Magazine
Journal of Family Issues vol. 28 no. 3 (Mar. 2007)
division of household labor
Using microdata from the 2004 Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), this study takes a cross-national perspective to investigate the division of household labor among older couples (aged 50 years or more). Across nine continental European countries, the authors find considerable variation in the overall distribution of housework between partners, with more egalitarian countries in northern Europe and more traditional countries in southern Europe. A multilevel analysis shows that about half of the between-country variance in the division of housework is due to differences in older couples’ characteristics, but that there are no country-specific effects of the main microlevel explanatory variables. Finally, the authors find a significant effect of macrolevel gender inequalities on couples’ division of housework, suggesting that older couples living in more gender-egalitarian countries are more likely to exhibit an equal sharing of household labor.
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