Can Policy Trump Gender? The Impact of Parenthood upon Paid and Unpaid Work and the Gender Division of Labour in Five Countries

Lyn Craig, University of New South Wales
Mullan Killian, University of New South Wales

We compare how becoming a parent impacts time in paid work, domestic labor and childcare in five countries with different workplace systems, family and social policies and cultural attitudes to family care provision. Research associates the transition to parenthood with higher daily total workloads for fathers and mothers compared to childless men and women and with intensification of the gender division of labor. Using an original harmonized data set from nationally representative time-use surveys from Australia, Italy, France, the U.S. and Denmark, we explore whether/how these outcomes differ cross-nationally. Our harmonization facilitates the first cross-national time-use analysis of actual households (in four of the countries) and of supervisory childcare. A parental workload penalty and an intensified gender division of labor do pertain cross-nationally but are most pronounced in market-oriented care countries Australia and U.S. and least pronounced in “valued-care” Denmark. Masculinization of female behavior is a stronger driver than feminization of male behavior.

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Presented in Session 68: Demography with a Gender Lens