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Paid and Unpaid Work in Australian Households: Trends in the Gender Division of Labour, 1986-2005

Authors
Disciplines
  • Economics

Abstract

Changes in labour force participation rates of men and women over the last three decades raise questions about how men and women manage the combined responsibilities of paid and unpaid work. In the majority of couple families both partners are now engaged in paid employment highlighting the necessity to consider both paid and unpaid work when examining household divisions of labour. In this study, we use data collected in three national Australian surveys in 1986, 1993 and 2005 to examine the combined paid and unpaid workloads of men and women in dual-earner families. We find that the gender gap in men’s and women’s combined workloads has narrowed with men and women having similar loads when both are employed full-time. But this pattern does not hold for households with dependent children. We conclude that parenthood is a constraint on equality in the division of labour within Australian households.

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