The division of household labour in Romanian families: between gender ideologies, relative resources and time availability

Paul-Teodor Hărăguş, Babes-Bolyai University

Our intention is to determine which of the most used theoretical constructs (“gender ideology”, “relative resources”, and “time availability approach”) manages to better foresee the amount of housework done by an individual (hours spent for this activity), and the division of housework inside the family. To fulfil our intention we have used the databases from three surveys conducted in Romania in the last years: Gender Poll, conducted in 2000, and a replication and extension of it from 2007 (Life of the couple) and the Generations and Gender Survey (GGS) from 2005. Specific to our analysis is the testing of different models on two distinct populations, at each step: men and women from the sample. The reasons are clear: the analysed variables have a totally different distribution for the two populations and the control variables have, most often, inverse effects. Constructing different models for each gender will show that the effects of the same determinant are different on women and men. Our research shows that the gender ideology can not explain the allocation of housework in a satisfactory way, and many times, the attitudes toward housework or the ideological orientation of family members do not have any significant effect on the behaviour. Most often, this happens in the case of wives: they do most of the housework, no matter how egalitarian or traditional their vision of domestic roles is. “Relative resources perspective” comes to fill in the aspects remained unexplained by the gender ideology approach, but it does not have the effect demonstrated in the Anglo-Saxon cultural space. Our research also shows that the “time availability” approach has explanatory power only for men from urban areas, which can mean that they use the greater amount of hours of paid work rather as a justification of their reduced involvement in the housework.

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Presented in Session 87: Gender division of care and domestic work