More egalitarian partnerships? The division of household labour among married and cohabiting couples in five European countries

Marta Dominguez, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

This paper compares the gendered allocation of household labour between married and cohabiting couples in Spain, UK, France, Italy and Germany. The main hypothesis to be tested is that the type of partnership influences the equality of the housework division, namely that cohabiting couples are more egalitarian than marriages. We expect differences among unions to be more significant in Spain and Italy, the most traditional countries, and less significant in others. In order to examine to what extent there is equality, we consider each partners’ contribution to the total housework time, but also who does what: some tasks are more constraining than others and we investigate if there are gender and partnership differences specific to those tasks. We analyse data from national Time Use Surveys, using OLS linear regression models, and control for variables associated to the main theories on the allocation of housework: relative resources and the doing gender approach. Our preliminary results show that cohabiting couples are more egalitarian, and that there are important country-effects.

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Presented in Session 15: Comparison of the dynamics of marriage and cohabitation