Attitudes toward housework and child care and the gendered division of labor

A.R. Poortman, T. van der Lippe

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Research on the division of household labor has typically examined the role of time availability, relative resources, and gender ideology. We explore the gendered meaning of domestic work by examining the role of men’s and women’s attitudes toward household labor. Using data from the Dutch Time Competition Survey (N=732), we find that women havemore favorable attitudes toward cleaning, cooking, and child care than do men: Women enjoy it more, set higher standards for it, and feel more responsible for it. Furthermore, women’s favorable and men’s unfavorable attitudes are associated with women’s greater contribution to household labor. Effects are stronger for housework than child care, own attitudes matter more than partner’s, and men’s attitudes are more influential than women’s.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-541
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Marriage and the Family
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • housework
  • division of labor
  • family roles
  • child care

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