Gender and the Division of Household Labor in Older Couples: A European Perspective
Using micro-data from the 2004 ‘Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe’ (SHARE), this study investigates the division of household labor in older couples (aged 50+) in a cross-national perspective. Across ten continental European countries, we find considerable variation in the overall distribution of housework between partners. One may roughly distinguish between more egalitarian countries in northern Europe and more traditional countries in the southern parts of Europe. A multivariate analysis shows that the observed spatial pattern is neither due to differences in population composition, nor due to country-specific effects of individual characteristics. We do find a significant effect of macro-level gender inequalities on couples’ division of housework, though. In addition, our analysis suggests the presence of relevant further, though unobserved contextual effects. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research.
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