Is Men's Share of Housework Reduced by "Gender Deviance Neutralization?" Evidence from Seven Countries

Simister, John
May 2013
Journal of Comparative Family Studies;May/Jun2013, Vol. 44 Issue 3, p311
Academic Journal
This paper investigates a theory regarding the amount of housework carried out by men, called the 'gender deviance neutralization' hypothesis: men seem more resistant to doing housework, and women seem to do more housework than expected, if the wife earns more than her husband. It appears that attitudes to gender roles influence the behaviour of women and men, as regards housework. This paper studies time spent on housework by husbands and wives, using household surveys in seven countries: Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, India, Kenya, Nigeria, and UK. Previous evidence of a 'curvilinear' pattern is confirmed, which can be interpreted as support for the gender deviance neutralization hypothesis. An aspect of this paper is that 'gender deviance neutralization' seems more common in countries where it is rare for a woman to be the main earner - such as Egypt and India. In such traditional (gender-asymmetric) countries, men appear even more resistant to doing housework than in more modern (more gender-symmetrical) countries such as UK and Kenya. Domestic violence between husband and wife seems to be relevant to housework and women's earnings. In some households, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) may be a response by a husband to his reduction in control over household decisions. There is some evidence that a husband's alcohol consumption is related to the likelihood of GBV occurring in that household. Interactions between alcohol, domestic violence, and gender roles all seem to be inter-related with the distribution of housework between husband and wife.


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