Parenthood and the gender division of domestic labour in Germany

Christian Schmitt, University of Rostock and German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP)
Heike Trappe, University of Rostock
Annelene Wengler, Universität Rostock

Social change during the last decades left the gender division of housework widely unaffected. Domestic labour remains essentially a female domain, while male contributions in the household are still reluctant to change towards more gender equity. In this context, we address two topics in order to unravel crucial factors, underlying the gender division of housework. • Firstly, we investigate the impact of gender role attitudes, time constraints, and relative resources on the division of domestic labour, and • secondly, we provide an in-depth analysis of the impact of the transition to parenthood. Our analysis focuses on the German welfare state, which provides an interesting basis as widespread norms of egalitarianism and the traditional division of domestic labour are contradictory. For the empirical analyses, we apply representative data from the Generations and Gender Survey (GGS), which offers a broad array of information on gender role attitudes, biographical plans and on participation in market and domestic work. In order to distinguish essential indicators of housework, childcare, and gender role attitudes we apply factor score analysis. On this basis, we estimate refined regression models that provide detailed information on the determinants of male and female contributions to domestic labour and especially to childcare, given a differential impact of biographical plans, gender role attitudes, occupational participation and aspirations. Our theoretical framework assumes that negotiation processes among partners, as based on their individual bargaining positions are decisive for the division of housework and childcare. These bargaining positions in turn depend on relative resources as well as on internalized norms of traditionalism and egalitarianism. Following this theoretical guideline, we consider the distribution of income and human capital among partners and inspect individual time budgets. We focus on the effect of parenthood on the division of domestic work and childcare across social groups and life-course segments.

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Presented in Session 15: Intrahousehold Allocation