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Léa PESSIN (Pennsylvania State University) – “Gender Equality for Whom? The changing division of paid work and housework by social class among U.S. couples from 1968 to 2017”
Sociology Seminar: Wenesday
Date: 18th of May 2022
Léa PESSIN (Pennsylvania State University) “Gender Equality for Whom? The changing division of paid work and housework by social class among U.S. couples from 1968 to 2017”
Abstract :In response to women’s changing roles in labor markets, couples have adopted varied strategies to reconcile career and family needs. Yet, most studies on the gender division of labor focus almost exclusively on changes either in the work or family domain. Doing so neglects the process through which couples negotiate and contest traditional work and family responsibilities. Studies that do examine these tradeoffs have highlighted how work-family arrangements range far beyond simple traditional-egalitarian dichotomies but are limited to specific points in time or population subgroups. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and latent-class analysis, this article provides the first population-based estimates of the couple-level tradeoffs inherent in work-family arrangements in the United States, and how these have changed over time. Specifically, focusing on the couple-level division of housework and paid work, I identify seven distinct work-family arrangements (traditional, neotraditional, her-second-shift, egalitarian, his-second-shift, female-breadwinner, and neither-working couples), document trends in the share of couples who fall into each of these groups, and consider social stratification in these trends. Between 1968 and 2017, traditional couples experienced the largest decrease in prevalence, giving room to egalitarian couples but also unconventional work-family arrangements (his-second-shift, female-breadwinner, and neither-working couples). In addition, these work-family arrangements are distributed unequally across social strata: egalitarian partnerships have increased the most among highly educated couples, while less educated couples are more likely to lack two full-time earners. These findings further underscore the increasing polarization of Americans’ family patterns and work opportunities by social class.
Sofian EL ATIFI, Etienne OLLION, Patrick PRÄG (Pôle de Sociologie du CREST)