Gender disparities in housework in the long run: a comparative analysis of France, Italy, the Netherlands and the U.K. from the 80s

Clara Champagne, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Ariane Pailhé, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Anne Solaz, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

Individuals’ use of time has dramatically changed across the last decades in most industrialized countries. However, women still perform the bulk of non market work. This paper analyses the persistence of the gender gap in housework and parenting over the long run. The aim of this study is twofold. First it intends to describe the long term evolution of male and female involvement in housework and parenting in France, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK. Second, it aims at disentangle factors in favor or against the gender gap in housework and parenting, i.e. technical progress, changes in family structure, changes in labor force participation, social changes and changes of norms. Based on two time-use surveys for each country from the mid-80ies, we show that there is a slight decrease of the gender housework time gap over time, mainly due to the decrease of female participation in domestic tasks. On the other hand, both men and women increase childcare time over decades. These trends are observed in average, but also at top and lower deciles. The decomposition of the gender time gap over decades using the extended Oaxaca method shows that these trends are due to changes in practices rather than changes in structural factors. Among these structural factors, the decrease of the share of inactive women, the progression of unmarried couples and of female education level, and the increase of externalization -to a lower extent- have driven the decrease of housework for women. The increase of childcare for women is driven by the progression of their education level and the higher externalisation of housework.

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Presented in Session 63: Childcare, work and family