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Godly husbands and housework: A global examination of the association between religion and men’s housework participation


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In studies seeking to understand cultural and institutional influences on the division of domestic labor, religion has often been left out of the picture in favor of economic, gender and welfare state context. By examining men from 34 countries using 2012 International Social Survey (ISSP) data this study explores the ways in which religion is associated with men’s household labor participation. We utilize individual measures of religiosity as well as cultural zones based on religious and cultural similarity to analyze the effect of predominant religion and religious participation on men’s housework. Differences emerge between men by religious tradition, level of religious attendance, and across cultural zones. Contrary to expectations, we find increased religious participation at the individual and cultural zone levels associated with greater participation in some housework tasks and time spent on housework, though the findings show great variation by task and religious tradition. Our findings indicate two potential paths leading to men’s increased housework participation: a nonreligious, egalitarian one, and a religious, family-centered one.
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Social Compass
2020, Vol. 67(3) 389 –409
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DOI: 10.1177/0037768620907566
Godly husbands and
housework: A global
examination of the association
between religion and men’s
housework participation
Bethany GULL
University of Utah, USA
Claudia GEIST
University of Utah, USA
In studies seeking to understand cultural and institutional influences on the division of
domestic labor, religion has often been left out of the picture in favor of economic,
gender and welfare state context. By examining men from 34 countries using 2012
International Social Survey (ISSP) data this study explores the ways in which religion
is associated with men’s household labor participation. We utilize individual measures
of religiosity as well as cultural zones based on religious and cultural similarity to
analyze the effect of predominant religion and religious participation on men’s
housework. Differences emerge between men by religious tradition, level of religious
attendance, and across cultural zones. Contrary to expectations, we find increased
religious participation at the individual and cultural zone levels associated with greater
participation in some housework tasks and time spent on housework, though the
findings show great variation by task and religious tradition. Our findings indicate two
potential paths leading to men’s increased housework participation: a nonreligious,
egalitarian one, and a religious, family-centered one.
division of labor, gender and family, global/international, housework, religion
Corresponding author:
Bethany Gull, Department of Sociology, University of Utah, 380 S. 1580 E., Rom 301, Salt Lake City,
UT 84112, USA.
907566SCP0010.1177/0037768620907566Social CompassGull: Godly husbands and housework
390 Social Compass 67(3)
Dans les études visant à comprendre les influences culturelles et institutionnelles relatives
à la division du travail domestique, la religion a souvent été laissée de côté au profit du
contexte économique, du genre et de l’État-providence. En examinant les hommes de
34 pays à l’aide des données de l’Enquête sociale internationale (ISSP) de 2012, cette
étude explore les façons dont la religion est associée à la participation des hommes au
travail des ménages. Nous utilisons des mesures individuelles de religiosité ainsi que des
zones culturelles basées sur la similarité religieuse et culturelle pour analyser l’effet de
la religion prédominante et de la participation religieuse sur les travaux ménagers des
hommes. Des différences apparaissent entre les hommes en fonction de la tradition
religieuse, du niveau de participation religieuse et des zones culturelles. Contrairement
aux attentes, nous constatons une participation religieuse plus importante des individus
et des zones culturelles, associée à une plus grande participation à certaines tâches
ménagères et au temps consacré aux travaux ménagers, bien que les résultats montrent
de grandes variations selon les tâches et les traditions religieuses. Nos conclusions
indiquent deux voies potentielles menant à une participation accrue des hommes aux
travaux ménagers : une voie non religieuse et égalitaire, et une voie religieuse et centrée
sur la famille.
division du travail, genre et famille, global/international, religion, tâches ménagères
While men have increased their share of housework significantly over the past 50 years
(Bianchi et al., 2012), discussions of a ‘stalled’ gender revolution (England, 2010)
highlight continued inequality in the division of labor between heterosexual partners.
Some even consider this as a sign of ‘the second half of the gender revolution’ (Bernhardt
et al., 2008). Comparative research on housework has identified the complex structural
and cultural factors that further our understanding of housework allocation processes
(Fuwa, 2004; Fuwa and Cohen, 2007; Geist, 2005; Geist and Cohen, 2011; Ruppanner,
2009; Stier et al., 2001). However, the impact of religion on the domestic division of
labor has not received much attention. At most, individuals’ religiosity has served as a
proxy for traditional ideas about gender, and research has focused primarily on adherents
of Western Christianity, especially Protestantism (Apparala et al., 2003; Bernhardt et al.,
2008; Bianchi et al., 2012; Treas and Lui, 2013; Voicu et al., 2007).
The goal of this article is to explore how religion shapes men’s participation in
housework at both the micro and macro levels. Aside from exploring differences in
individual religious affiliation and participation, we are interested in the ways religion
shapes societal norms and serves as the basis for distinctly gendered understandings of
acceptable conduct regarding home and family care tasks net of individual characteristics.
The focus on macro-level forces’ influences in the home is in line with the research that
has examined the independent role of welfare states on housework (Geist, 2005).
Research on housework has often focused on women or couples. Our focus on men’s
participation will examine a potential mechanism underlying the stall in the gender
Gull: Godly husbands and housework 391
revolution: how religion functions at the individual and institutional levels to shape
men’s understanding of their appropriate role in domestic labor among heterosexual
couples. We examine men’s housework patterns throughout the world to better understand
how and to what extent both individual religion and macro-level religious context
influence men’s involvement in household chores and meal preparation. We introduce
cultural zones as a novel way of exploring macro-level religious influence on men’s
participation in housework (Cole, 2016) in an effort to show that religion’s influence
goes far deeper than individual belief and affiliation; countries’ predominant faith
traditions should be viewed as major sources of societal structure and culture norms
which affect couples’ division of domestic labor (Stark and Finke, 2000).
Our study expands existing research in three crucial ways. First, we examine the role of
religion in men’s housework performance. Second, we do so in a comparative perspective.
Third, we use a novel conceptualization of religious context, that of cultural zones.
Below, we briefly summarize the importance of religion for understanding gendered
family relations, and we outline dominant explanatory frameworks for the gendered
division of labor alongside a discussion on the way religion is expected to shape domestic
labor patterns.
The influence of religion on gender and family
Religion is an underexplored sociocultural factor in explanations of differences in
domestic labor participation between countries that possess similar welfare regimes and
levels of development (Klingorová and Havlíček, 2015; Seguino, 2011; Voicu et al.,
2009). This article will shed additional light on religion’s role in shaping men’s housework
performance by examining data from countries representing a variety of religious
traditions, including some whose residents primarily identify as non-religious.
Despite significant shifts away from participation in institutional religion in recent
decades, religious collectivities remain strong sources of identity and provide important
support for the development of individuals’ beliefs and values (Meintel, 2014; Pessi,
2013). Religion has historically been one of the strongest forces shaping the development
and continuation of inegalitarian gender norms and family patterns (Kalmijn et al., 2003;
Pankhurst and Houseknecht, 2000). All major world religions originated in patriarchal
cultures and contain frameworks, hierarchies, doctrines, and practices that reflect these
origins (Klingorová and Havlíček, 2015). While some denominations have opened their
leadership ranks to women and revised or expanded upon teachings and doctrines that
have historically excluded women from positions of power, others have remained true to
their patriarchal past. After controlling for other possible factors, religious devoutness
emerges as the primary factor in predicting traditional gender role ideation (Herzog and
Bachman, 1982; Morgan, 1987).
The relationship between conservative religious affiliation and traditional gender
attitudes has been studied extensively. Members of conservative Christian and orthodox
Jewish denominations are more likely to espouse inegalitarian gender ideologies than
392 Social Compass 67(3)
their liberal and reform counterparts (Peek et al., 1991; Hardacre, 1993). Conservative
Protestant denominations, from their pulpits as well as in their written works, promote
traditional gender ideology, known as ‘complementarianism,’ and create religious
cultures in which breadwinner/homemaker roles are imbued with divine significance
(Ammons and Edgell, 2007; Read, 2003). Conservative religious women in the United
States show lower levels of labor participation, earlier marriage, lower scores on
measures of gender egalitarianism (Glass and Jacobs, 2005) and greater involvement in
housework and child care (Ellison and Bartkowski, 2002).
Yet complementarian gender ideology and reduced male participation in household
labor may not be directly linked. A number of conservative Christian organizations, as
exemplified by the Promise Keepers, promote versions of masculinity which encourage
men to spend more time in the home and develop qualities such as nurturance, cooperation,
and expressiveness (Bloch, 2000; Ellison and Bartkowski, 2002; Glass and Jacobs, 2005).
These organizations pointedly critique men who ignore their responsibilities at home,
although these responsibilities center more around relationships than around participation
in housework. Ammons and Edgell (2007) find that the activities these religious men
engage in do not seem to include increased participation in tasks around the home. The
effect of religiosity on housework participation is a central focus of this study.
Researchers have noted that more information is needed in order to expand the
understanding of what religiously conservative men’s increased family involvement
looks like in practice (Bartkowski and Xu, 2000), while a considerable body of literature
has developed around the study of conservative religious women’s experiences juggling
work and family obligations (Ellison and Bartkowski, 2002; Civettini and Glass, 2008;
Ammons and Edgell, 2007). Existing work on religious men’s housework involvement
is primarily focused on conservative or evangelical Protestants in the United States;
Voicu et al.’s (2009) work in a European context is a notable exception.
This article recognizes the importance of studying men’s religiosity as a crucial factor
in understanding the context within which couples structure their domestic division of
labor arrangements. Half of the picture is left blank if only women’s religiosity is
considered as a factor affecting couples’ housework, yet study after study has ignored
men’s religiosity – their belief, belonging, and attendance – as a factor shaping their
involvement in housework. Whether religiosity attenuates or increases this involvement
is largely unknown.
Established determinants of the domestic division of labor
The gendered division of household labor remains an actively researched topic (Bianchi
et al., 2000; Geist and Cohen, 2011; Singelmann et al., 1996). Three main areas of
explanation have emerged in the micro-focused literature on household labor: ‘doing’
gender, time availability, and relative resources. The gender perspective on the division
of household labor says that women and men ‘do’ gender when engaging in housework.
The household chores they select and the amount of domestic work they participate in
are part of a gendered performance which reinforce ideal notions of appropriate
gendered behavior (Aassve et al., 2014; Bianchi et al., 2000; Greenstein, 2000; South
and Spitze, 1994).
Gull: Godly husbands and housework 393
The time availability perspective focuses on how differences in men’s and women’s
participation in paid work affect their contributions to housework. The greater the time
spent in paid work, it is hypothesized, the less time spent on housework. Many studies
find that the more hours women spend in paid labor, the fewer they spend engaged in
household chores (Aassve et al., 2014; Knudsen and Wærness, 2007; Mannino and
Deutsch, 2007; Pinto and Coltrane, 2009). Men’s share of household labor also rises
when their partners enter the workforce, although not enough to fill the gap left by their
wives’ decline in participation (Cunningham, 2007; Kroska, 2004; Noonan et al., 2007).
The relative resources perspective posits that the division of domestic tasks is
heavily influenced by power dynamics within the household. Men’s breadwinner status
has traditionally left women with less bargaining power in the realm of household
duties (Acker, 1988; Brines, 1994; Lennon and Rosenfield, 1994; Sorensen and
McLanahan, 1987). There exists a strong association between increased economic
participation, relative earnings, and the development of egalitarian gender attitudes in
women (Cunningham, 2007).
Men’s housework
In many regions of the world, men today perform a larger share of housework than their
predecessors (Bernhardt et al., 2008; Bianchi et al., 2012; Moon and Shin, 2018; Treas
and Lui, 2013). Despite this overall increase in domestic labor participation, the cross-
national trend of male participation is neither continuous nor linear. Men in many Western
nations have begun to close the gap with women in number of hours spent on domestic
labor (Altintas and Sullivan, 2016; Bianchi et al., 2000; Treas and Lui, 2013), yet
women’s share of domestic labor in the United States is still 1.6 times higher than men’s
(Bianchi et al., 2012). Thus, despite a general movement towards greater equality in
housework among Western couples, significant cross-national variations, as well as a
distinct gender gap in men’s housework participation, remain (Altintas and Sullivan,
2016; Sayer, 2016).
As men are encouraged to assume more active roles in home and family care, the
demands on their time grow (Kilkey and Perrons, 2010). Men today are increasingly
expected to complete a greater number of tasks than their predecessors, including paid
and unpaid work. Yet the types of household work traditionally marked as ‘masculine’
primarily consist of tasks that are not time-dependent, such as household maintenance,
yard work, small repairs, and cosmetic improvements (Cancedda, 2001; Kilkey and
Perrons, 2010). Therefore, the so-called ‘male time squeeze’ largely involves tasks that
are much more amenable to outsourcing than those involved in the female time squeeze,
which are performed on a routine, often daily basis (Blair and Lichter, 1991; Quadlin and
Doan, 2018).
Comparative housework research
Contextual factors, beyond individual and couple characteristics, also play an important
role in understanding housework patterns. In comparative studies of the domestic
division of labor, a number of dimensions have been identified as relevant. Treas and Lui
394 Social Compass 67(3)
(2013) summarize that women’s empowerment and employment, the market for domestic
labor, states and policy contexts, prevalent family patterns, and cultural influences
matter. Research on the role of policy context, welfare state, or level of gender inequality
typically encompasses several of these dimensional policy patterns and gender
empowerment are linked to empowerment.
Cross-national differences in housework patterns remain pronounced (Geist and
Cohen, 2011). Attempts to understand the link between culture and housework have been
relatively scant, beyond studies that have used aggregate measures of attitudes as a proxy
for culture. Gender specialization, gender equality, and socioeconomic inequality have
emerged as essential factors in predicting the establishment of social norms involving
housework participation (Treas and Lui, 2013). However, the influence of religion as a
primary source of these norms has yet to receive its due in either the literature on
housework participation or religion.
Research by Voicu et al. (2009) into housework division among European countries
suggests that in predominantly Catholic and Orthodox countries, the domestic division
of labor is less equal than in Protestant countries. Regional differences in religious
culture and their impact on the division of household labor is one area in the complex
nexus of structural, institutional, and cultural influences that has been understudied up to
this point, and with which this article will engage.
Religion and national culture
Religion should be studied as a powerful organizing social force in order to better explain
how countries’ dominant religious traditions have differentially shaped their cultures and
institutions. One way of conceptualizing religion’s influence is through Cole’s (2016)
schema of cultural zones. These cultural zones categorize countries by similarity of
religious tradition and historical experience as well as geographical location. Building on
earlier attempts at the construction of cultural zones (Huntington, 1997; Inglehart, 2010;
Welzel, 2013), Cole’s zones take an empirical rather than purely historical approach to
the assignment of countries into categories of primary religion by using data from the
World Religion Dataset (Maoz and Henderson, 2013). By combining religion, level of
development, and recognition of colonialism’s historical influence, cultural zones
provide a hitherto unused schema through which to incorporate religion into the study of
the division of household labor.
Based on existing research on religious participation and affiliation and differences
explored across cultural zones, we posit the following hypotheses (net of other individual
H1a: Increased religious participation by men will be associated with lower levels of
involvement in housework.
H1b: Men’s participation in housework will vary across religious traditions, with
those involved in conservative traditions (which emphasize traditional gender
ideologies) reporting lower levels of household labor sharing.
H2a: Men’s participation in domestic labor will vary across cultural zones.
Gull: Godly husbands and housework 395
H2b: Based on existing research on contrasts between Protestant, Catholic, and
Orthodox countries, we expect that men in Western Protestant countries will be more
involved with housework than those in other cultural zones.
We use data from the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP)’s module, ‘Changing
Gender and Family Roles IV’ (ISSP Research Group, 2012). In the United States, the
ISSP modules are attached to the General Social Survey (GSS). ISSP member nations
now number over 60, but not all nations participate in every survey. The 2012 survey was
administered in countries across Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania.
Sample collection varies by nation and consists of simple random or stratified random
samples (see ISSP [2012] for details on survey mode and sampling strategies).
Participating countries represent varying levels of economic development, dominant
religious traditions, and welfare state regimes. Our study focuses on men who live in
households with a female partner, resulting in a sample size of 10,619 men from 34
countries where all key measures were included in the survey (See Table 1).
Table 1. Cultural zone and frequency of countries (N=10619).
Buddhist Japan 281 South Korea 349
Hindu India 363
Israel Israel 275
Latin American Catholic Chile 240 Venezuela 187
Argentina 170 Mexico 301
Nonreligious Czech Republic 441 Russia 241
Latvia 206
Nonwestern Protestant South Africa 241
Orthodox Bulgaria 249
Other Catholic Philippines 399
Western Catholic Hungary 263 Lithuania 223
Belgium 559 Austria 186
France 366 Canada 172
Spain 707 Poland 244
Switzerland 379 Ireland 232
Netherlands 361 Slovakia 351
Slovenia 296
Croatia 241
Western Protestant Germany 480 Finland 332
Sweden 269 Norway 432
Iceland 306
Note: No countries in this data set were included in the non-middle Eastern Islamic or Animist zones. We
added Israel as a separate group since it is not included in the original categorization by Cole.
396 Social Compass 67(3)
Dependent variable: Men’s housework
We focus on men’s share of regularly occurring household tasks as well as the time spent
on housework. Participation in specific types of household labor is measured by the
question, ‘In your household, who does the following things?’ Sub-questions are then
asked about participation in laundry, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and household
cleaning, with participants responding on a 6-point scale ranging from ‘Always me’ to
‘Always my spouse/partner.’ The response option ‘I pay someone to do this’ was re-coded
as the equivalent of ‘About equal/both together.’ We also include a measure of the
number of hours men report spending on hours per week (see Table 2). As with the
division of labor, this is not a perfect measure, but we are confident that assessing both a
relative measure and a time-based measure can give a good understanding about the
association between religion and men’s housework.
Key independent variables: Religion measures
Men’s religious affiliation is determined by the following question, with slight variations
in wording across countries: ‘Do you belong to a religion?’ Religious involvement is
measured by the question: ‘Apart from special occasions such as weddings, funerals,
etc., how often do you attend religious services?’ Participants selected from a 1–8 scale,
with (1) equaling ‘Never’ and (8) ‘Several times a week.’ This measure, while imperfect,
Table 2. Men’s participation in household labor (N=10619).
Housework Tasks Mean SD Min Max
Doing the Laundry 4.0 1.1 1 5
Shopping for Groceries 3.3 1.0 1 5
Preparing Meals 3.7 1.1 1 5
Household Cleaning 3.8 1.0 1 5
Housework Hours 10.7 11.0 0 84
% %
Doing the laundry Shopping for groceries
Always me 0.05 Always me 0.06
Usually me 0.04 Usually me 0.09
About equal or both together 0.17 About equal or both together 0.46
Usually my spouse/partner 0.32 Usually my spouse/partner 0.24
Always my spouse/partner 0.43 Always my spouse/partner 0.15
Preparing meals Household cleaning
Always me 0.05 Always me 0.03
Usually me 0.08 Usually me 0.04
About equal or both together 0.24 About equal 0.32
Usually my spouse/partner 0.34 Usually my spouse/partner 0.36
Always my spouse/partner 0.29 Always my spouse/partner 0.25
Gull: Godly husbands and housework 397
shows men’s degree of participation in their religious community, as well as a certain
level of exposure to that religion’s beliefs and values (Ammons and Edgell, 2007). Thus,
this measure of exposure and involvement is a good indicator of the degree to which men
have internalized religious teachings and accept the worldview presented by their
religious tradition (see Table 3 for descriptive statistics).
Countries are grouped into cultural zones based on religious and cultural similarity
and geographic proximity. We follow Cole’s (2016) categorization of countries in our
sample, which consists of 12 distinct zones: Animist, Buddhist, Catholic (Latin
American), Catholic (other), Catholic (Western), Confucian, Hindu, Islamic (Middle
Eastern), Orthodox, Protestant (non-Western), and Protestant (Western). Although not
included in Cole’s schema, our sample also includes Israel. We include Israel as a separate
Table 3. Household labor predictors: Religion indicators and controls (N=10,619).
Denomination % %
No religion 0.22 Islamic 0.03
Catholic 0.40 Buddhist 0.01
Protestant 0.19 Hindu 0.03
Orthodox 0.05 Other Asian religions 0.01
Other Christian 0.04 Other religions 0.01
Jewish 0.02
Mean/% Std. Dev. Min Max
Frequency of attendance
(1=Never – 8=Several times a week)
3.47 2.26 1 8
Hours worked/week 30.67 23.65 0 96
Relative resources
Male partner many more resources 0.13 0 1
Male partner more resources 0.57 0 1
All other arrangements 0.30 0 1
SES scale (self-assessed) 5.64 1.83 1 10
Gender attitudes 3.24 1.31 1 5
Highest degree achieved % %
No formal education 0.04 Post-secondary education 0.15
Primary education 0.06 Lower level tertiary education 0.15
Lower secondary education 0.24 Upper level tertiary education 0.13
Upper secondary education 0.23
Marital Status
Married 0.86 Unmarried 0.14
Age 51.41 15.10 18 95
Any children in household .44 0 1
Note: Multivariate models presented in Table 4 include all control variables listed in Table 3.
398 Social Compass 67(3)
category because of its status as a unique religious and cultural civilization (Huntington,
1997). See Table 1 for a list of countries by zone.
We include controls to account for the three dominant approaches used in housework
research. To assess time availability, we include a measure of average hours worked for
pay per week. Individuals who are not working for pay were coded as working zero
hours, with a maximum of 96 hours per week. For relative resources, we categorize
respondents based on respondents’ and partners’ self-reported income: spouse has no
income and the respondent is the sole provider; respondent’s income is much higher than
spouse’s; and other, which includes the spouse being the sole provider and both partners
contributing equally or neither partner reporting income. We also included a self-reported
measure of socio-economic status on a 1–10 scale. Respondents are asked to situate
themselves at the top (10) or the bottom (1) of their country’s economic strata. For the
United States, this measure is not available. Instead, we calculate individuals’ decile
placement in this country’s distributions for individual and household income, which we
then use as a proxy of the self-reported socioeconomic status.
The extent to which individuals do gender is notoriously difficult to assess, but we
include a measure that indicates adherence to traditional ideas about the division of labor
between spouses in the labor market. Respondents are asked about their level of
agreement with the statement ‘A man’s job is to earn money; a woman’s job is to look
after the home and family.’ Higher values indicate a more gender equitable attitude.
Additional controls include marital status, years of education, and age. Marital status is
collapsed into a simplified binary measure distinguishing between currently married and
not currently married. We include in this analysis only presumed heterosexual couples
due to a lack of information and lack of theoretical context for men who live in couples
with other men. For education, we use a measure that reflects the highest degree achieved
(see Table 3 for details). Supplemental analyses also included an indicator for children
living in the housework. The presence of children in the household was not associated
with men’s share of housework.
Analytical approach
Our analyses were conducted in the statistical analysis program Stata. Analyses proceeded in
three steps. We first establish a baseline model that accounts for the typical explanations
of housework patterns: relative resources, time availability, and gender role attitudes.
Second, we estimate models that further include individual-level measures of religion,
religious identification, attendance at religious services, and both of those combined. Our
third step considers a macro-level context and examines to what extent the context of
cultural zones shape men’s housework both overall and net of individual characteristics.
To reflect the cross-nationally cross-sectional nature of our data we estimate multilevel
models to account for the fact that individual respondents are nested within countries
(Rabe-Hesketh and Skrondal, 2008). We estimated mixed effect ordered logistic
regressions (melogit) for relative housework contribution and linear mixed models
(mixed) for housework time. Descriptive statistics for all controls are included in Table 3.
Gull: Godly husbands and housework 399
Baseline model
Our first multivariate model examines established predictors of the domestic division of
labor. Table 4 demonstrates that long work hours are associated with lower levels of
men’s involvement across all housework tasks, as well as shorter hours of housework.
Compared to sole breadwinners, all other men share more equally and spend more time
on housework. Where men see themselves relative to others in the stratification system
is not associated with their participation in laundry and grocery shopping. Yet those who
see themselves as higher in the societal hierarchy participate less in meal preparation and
do less housework. Men who hold more egalitarian views about the division of paid
labor between men and women share more equally in housework tasks, but attitudes are
not associated with overall time spent on housework.
There is also some evidence for variation by level of education. Compared to those
without formal education, men with only primary education report less involvement in
two out of the three housework tasks, but longer hours doing housework. Men with
tertiary education report a more egalitarian division of labor, but also fewer hours doing
housework. Men who are married share less in housework tasks, but do not differ in the
amount of time they spend on housework tasks compared to their non-married
counterparts. Older age is associated with a more traditional division of labor but also
with slightly more time spent on housework. The presence of one or more children under
the age of 18 is not associated with patterns of the division of labor, but with more time
spent doing housework. These established predictors of housework time and tasks are
included in all subsequent multivariate models. The effects remain virtually identical
when we include religion measures, so we do not show them to keep tables more compact
(full models available upon request).
Individual-level affiliation and attendance and housework participation
Next, we examine the association between men’s religious affiliation and housework
patterns addressed in H1b. Table 5 shows that there is evidence that Catholic men,
compared to non-religious men, report a more traditional division of labor net of all
other individual level characteristics as described in Table 4 across 3 out of the 4
housework tasks. Hindu men and men who identity with ‘other’ Christian religions
report less involvement in grocery shopping but do not differ on any of the other tasks.
Muslim men report a more traditional division of labor for housecleaning and meal
preparation. However, they are also less traditional than non-religious men concerning
grocery shopping. Jewish men exhibit more equal sharing across three out of the four
tasks we examine compared to men who are not part of any religious tradition. When
we examine time spent on housework tasks (Model 5), Catholic men spend less time
while Hindu men spend more time on household chores than non-religious men. No
difference is evident for any of the other groups. Our findings provide no clear support
for Hypothesis 1b across the board. The variation in housework performance across
religious traditions does not follow a pattern that suggests that men from more
conservative religious traditions are less involved.
400 Social Compass 67(3)
Table 4. Individual level multivariate models – random effects ordinal logit (Models 1–4, odds
ratios shown) and linear random effects model (Model 5).
Variable Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5
Laundry Grocery
Hours worked weekly 1.005*** 1.009*** 1.005*** 1.009*** −0.043***
−5.68 −9.565 −5.573 −9.173 (−8.065)
Relative resources (ref: respondent is sole provider)
Relative resources:
income higher than
0.899* 0.853*** 0.775*** 0.834*** 0.802**
(−1.776) (−2.670) (−4.309) (−3.098) −2.448
Relative resources: other 0.601*** 0.708*** 0.489*** 0.497*** 2.276***
(−7.912) (−5.364) (−11.218) (−10.950) −6.449
Top-bottom self-placement 1.002 0.996 1.028** 0.984 −0.147**
−0.161 (−0.342) −2.487 (−1.371) (−2.309)
Men’s job earn money,
women’s job look after
0.900*** 0.940*** 0.875*** 0.843*** 0.143
(−6.173) (−3.764) (−8.089) (−10.257) −1.538
Education (ref: less than elementary school)
Primary school
(elementary school)
1.186 1.334** 1.271* 0.994 −1.898***
−1.384 −2.246 −1.946 (−0.048) (−2.829)
Lower secondary 1.181 1.069 1.024 0.896 −0.411
−1.523 −0.584 −0.222 (−0.989) (−0.692)
Upper secondary 1.02 0.862 0.886 0.747*** −0.209
−0.18 (−1.287) (−1.087) (−2.583) (−0.345)
Post-secondary, non-
1.026 0.925 0.866 0.753** −0.567
−0.22 (−0.646) (−1.232) (−2.392) (−0.882)
Lower level tertiary, first
0.841 0.798* 0.776** 0.657*** −1.094*
(−1.503) (−1.878) (−2.199) (−3.581) (−1.725)
Upper level tertiary
(Master, Dr.)
0.759** 0.670*** 0.742** 0.573*** −1.320**
(−2.297) (−3.232) (−2.497) (−4.580) (−1.996)
Marital status (ref: currently
1.474*** 1.272*** 1.356*** 1.293*** 0.289
−6.945 −4.274 −5.503 −4.56 −0.906
Age of respondent 1.018*** 1.006*** 1.018*** 1.010*** 0.036***
−10.136 −3.501 −10.775 −5.935 −3.776
Presence of children 1.04 0.993 1.057 1.025 0.473*
−0.867 (−0.170) −1.279 −0.573 −1.889
Observations 10,619 10,619 10,619 10,619 10,619
Number of groups 34 34 34 34 34
*p<0.05 **p<0.01 ***p<0.001.
Note: Random effects and cutoff points not shown.
Gull: Godly husbands and housework 401
When we consider men’s attendance of religious services and address H1a (see Table 6),
we find that compared to men who never attend any religious services, those who attend
sporadically to occasionally regularly report a more traditional division of labor for
grocery shopping, meal preparation, and cleaning, and limited evidence that they may do
less housework overall (among those who attend services once per month). However, men
who attend religious services weekly share more in laundry tasks and report significantly
longer housework hours. This set of findings support H1a to the extent that some
participation in religious services may be associated with lower levels of housework
involvement (especially if we do not account for men’s religious tradition). However, our
finding that high levels of participation are associated with both evidence of equal sharing
and more reported time for housework is in direct contradiction to H1a.
Table 5. Individual religious tradition and participation in housework-random effects ordinal
logit (Models 1a–4a, odds ratios shown) and linear random effects model (Model 5a). All models
include covariates from Table 4.
Variables (ref:
Model 1a Model 2a Model 3a Model 4a Model 5a
Laundry Grocery
Catholic 1.024 1.128** 1.188*** 1.141** 0.597*
−0.406 −2.171 −3.082 −2.393 −1.877
Protestant 1.016 1.042 1.092 1.048 0.049
−0.237 −0.63 −1.352 −0.712 −0.13
Orthodox 0.852 0.909 1.212 1.001 0.961
(−1.329) (−0.822) −1.613 −0.009 −1.447
Other Christian
1.072 1.207* 1.177 0.994 0.298
−0.629 −1.699 −1.491 (−0.058) −0.479
Jewish 0.381*** 0.766 0.500*** 0.415*** −1.934
(−3.600) (−1.134) (−2.678) (−3.599) (−1.379)
Islamic 1.005 0.671*** 1.522*** 1.490*** −0.956
−0.039 (−3.023) −3.189 −2.987 (−1.294)
Buddhist 1.354 1.079 1.272 1.248 −0.944
−1.349 −0.369 −1.12 −1.061 (−0.821)
Hindu 0.878 1.784** 1.432 1.077 2.800**
(−0.535) −2.451 −1.492 −0.328 −2.157
Other Asian religions 1.139 0.497 1.042 1.404 1.605
−0.182 (−1.066) −0.065 −0.54 −0.431
Other religions 0.854 0.813 0.774 1.04 −0.503
(−0.821) (−1.028) (−1.335) −0.201 (−0.460)
Observations 10,619 10,619 10,619 10,619 10,619
Number of groups 34 34 34 34 34
*p<0.05 **p<0.01 ***p<0.001.
Note: random effects and cutoff points not shown.
402 Social Compass 67(3)
The findings remain similar when we include both religious tradition and attendance
of religious services in Table 7, although they weaken somewhat. The religious tradition
differences remain similar for Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu men, but become weaker for
Catholics. The evidence that occasional attendance of religious services is associated
with a more traditional division of labor is considerably weakened, but the findings
continue to suggest that men who attend religious services every week share more
equally in at least laundry tasks and spend more time overall doing housework (a figure
illustrating the predictions for hours spent on housework by attendance, denomination,
and cultural zones is available upon request).
Table 6. Attendance at religious services and participation in housework-random effects
ordinal logit (Models 1b–4b, odds ratios shown) and linear random effects model (Model 5b).
All models include covariates from Table 4.
Variables Model 1b Model 2b Model 3b Model 4b Model 5b
Laundry Shopping for
Less than 1x a year 0.965 1.063 1.110* 1.09 −0.461
(−0.579) −1.012 −1.725 −1.423 (−1.333)
1x a year 0.943 1.126* 1.098 1.023 −0.439
(−0.868) −1.787 −1.421 −0.351 (−1.166)
Several times a year 0.998 1.176*** 1.172*** 1.138** 0.284
(−0.032) −2.936 −2.882 −2.329 −0.902
1x a month 1.032 1.015 1.105 1.049 0.674*
−0.468 −0.225 −1.507 −0.718 −1.791
Once a week 0.880** 0.952 1.032 0.897* 1.872***
(−2.012) (−0.791) −0.513 (−1.754) −5.332
Observations 10,619 10,619 10,619 10,619 10,619
Number of groups 34 34 34 34 34
*p<0.05 **p<0.01 ***p<0.001.
Note: random effects and cutoff points not shown.
Table 7. Religious tradition and attendance-random effects ordinal logit (Models 1c–4c, odds
ratios shown) and linear random effects model (Model 5c). All models include covariates from
Table 4.
Variables Model 1c Model 2c Model 3c Model 4c Model 5c
Laundry Shopping for
Catholic 1.049 1.093 1.158** 1.146** 0.314
−0.736 −1.412 −2.344 −2.197 −0.879
Protestant 1.052 1.018 1.073 1.06 −0.277
−0.701 −0.253 −1.005 −0.834 (−0.686)
Gull: Godly husbands and housework 403
Variables Model 1c Model 2c Model 3c Model 4c Model 5c
Laundry Shopping for
Orthodox 0.869 0.869 1.172 0.991 0.907
(−1.134) (−1.191) −1.301 (−0.078) −1.335
Other Christian religions 1.128 1.203 1.176 1.041 −0.339
−1.056 −1.621 −1.443 −0.351 (−0.529)
Jewish 0.390*** 0.752 0.491*** 0.425*** −2.236
(−3.499) (−1.206) (−2.738) (−3.497) (−1.604)
Islamic 1.065 0.668*** 1.520*** 1.585*** −1.737**
−0.454 (−2.955) −3.074 −3.341 (−2.278)
Buddhist 1.35 1.055 1.256 1.235 −1.151
−1.336 −0.26 −1.06 −1.012 (−1.001)
Hindu 0.879 1.719** 1.368 1.062 2.672**
(−0.525) −2.284 −1.291 −0.264 −2.06
Other Asian religions 1.14 0.492 1.022 1.393 1.324
−0.184 (−1.085) −0.034 −0.527 −0.356
Other religions 0.882 0.811 0.77 1.074 −0.979
(−0.649) (−1.034) (−1.354) −0.363 (−0.890)
Less than 1x a year 0.957 1.049 1.066 1.056 −0.525
(−0.682) −0.757 −1.019 −0.861 (−1.449)
1x a year 0.938 1.113 1.045 0.987 −0.512
(−0.909) −1.535 −0.634 (−0.188) (−1.296)
Several times a year 0.984 1.152** 1.1 1.082 0.191
(−0.252) −2.332 −1.57 −1.291 −0.552
1x a month 1.014 1 1.03 0.984 0.643
−0.183 (−0.004) −0.42 (−0.229) −1.58
Once a week 0.853** 0.947 0.958 0.837*** 1.992***
(−2.280) (−0.799) (−0.637) (−2.617) −5.194
Observations 10,619 10,619 10,619 10,619 10,619
Number of groups 34 34 34 34 34
*p<0.05 **p<0.01 ***p<0.001.
Note: Random effects and cutoff points not shown.
Cultural zones and housework participation
In the final set of models, we consider religion as a macro contextual measure through
country-dominant religious traditions (see Table 8). We find support for H2a, as patterns
of housework participation vary widely across cultural zones. There is at least partial
evidence for H2b in that net of their individual characteristics, men in Nonwestern
Protestant, Western and other Catholic countries, as well as men in Orthodox, Buddhist
and nonreligious countries report a more traditional division of labor than men in Western
Table 7. (Continued)
404 Social Compass 67(3)
Protestant nations. Men in India and Israel report both a more traditional and more
egalitarian division of labor compared to Western Protestant men, depending on the task.
As before, men in all Catholic countries, Hindu, and non-religious countries report more
housework hours than men in Western Protestant countries net of a broad range of
individual and household characteristics. Support for our basic hypothesis H2a of
variation across cultural zones is clearly supported, but the different findings for the
division of labor and the time spent on housework suggest that H2b is too simplistic.
How families divide up the work done within the home continues to be an area of active
research as its implications reverberate throughout the social structure and touch on a
variety of social scientific topics: the progress of the gender revolution, women’s gains
in paid work, welfare state regimes’ attitudes and policies regarding gender equality, and
religion’s influence on the state and the family. This study adds to the literature on men’s
involvement in domestic labor by examining the effects of individual religious affiliation,
Table 8. Cultural zone effects – random effects ordinal logit (Models 1c–4c, odds ratios
shown) and linear random effects model (Model 5c). All models include covariates shown in
Table 4.
Variables (ref: Western
Model 1d Model 2d Model 3d Model 4d Model 5d
Laundry Grocery
Nonwestern Protestant 0.647 1.132 1.671* 0.953 3.533
(−0.793) −0.497 −1.78 (−0.183) −1.479
Western Catholic 1.316 1.108 1.461*** 1.449*** 2.156**
−1.113 −0.941 −2.978 −3.231 −2.015
Latin American Catholic 0.599 0.833 1.115 0.924 5.310***
(−1.557) (−1.186) −0.623 (−0.494) −3.698
Other Catholic 0.73 1.636** 0.661 1.137 8.478***
(−0.577) −2.02 (−1.472) −0.506 −3.593
Orthodox 1.449 0.986 2.535*** 1.954** 1.398
−0.675 (−0.058) −3.232 −2.565 −0.586
Buddhist 1.519 2.612*** 3.371*** 1.718*** −2.392
−1.008 −5.199 −5.619 −2.773 (−1.334)
Hindu 0.169*** 1.679** 0.262*** 1.149 5.993**
(−3.251) −2.106 (−4.708) −0.536 −2.532
Nonreligious 1.669 1.333* 2.180*** 2.077*** 4.922***
−1.424 −1.784 −4.153 −4.304 −3.154
Israel 1.367 0.584** 2.013** 1.405 0.095
−0.569 (−2.169) −2.437 −1.313 −0.04
Observations 10,619 10,619 10,619 10,619 10,619
Number of groups 34 34 34 34 34
*p<0.05 **p<0.01 ***p<0.001.
Note: Random effects and cutoff points not shown.
Gull: Godly husbands and housework 405
attendance at religious services, and country-level religious context and includes a novel
frame through which to view religion’s societal-level influence, the cultural zone schema.
Support for the study’s hypotheses were mixed and several unexpected findings emerged.
At the individual level we do find evidence for variation of men’s housework performance
across religious traditions. While Catholic, Other Christian, Muslim, and Hindu men
show more traditional patterns of division of labor on a number of tasks, when we add
attendance at religious services, we find that the weekly attenders are more likely to
participate in at least some household tasks and spend more hours per week on housework.
A limitation of the data used in this study is its self-reported nature. While self-reported
measures have been criticized due to their potential for subjectivity and social desirability,
they often represent the best available data on individual behaviors.
What can we surmise from these findings? One possibility is that highly religious men
are heeding the call from their leaders to become more involved in family life, including
participation in household chores. Despite giving lip service to traditional gender ideology,
many conservative couples exhibit a pragmatic egalitarianism that may lead to more equal
sharing of household tasks (Gallagher and Smith, 1999). The exact nature of the tasks these
religiously active men are engaged in is unclear. Religiously active men may also look
different from less or non-religious men in their personalities and preferences, which may
impact their housework participation; however, that is beyond the scope of this study.
While this analysis does show some support for the notion that men are increasingly
engaging in traditionally ‘feminine’ tasks, more research is needed to determine whether or
not the majority of this extra time is indeed helping to lighten their partners’ gendered load.
We posit the emergence\ of two pathways toward greater equality in housework
participation. Nonreligious men individually (though not in nonreligious countries)
participate more in all types of domestic labor, likely due to acceptance of gender equitable
attitudes among this group (Seguino, 2011). At the same time, men who are more actively
religious appear to espouse attitudes that place a high value on home and family life, also
leading to greater participation in housework. Whether a man values his partner’s equality
and autonomy or feels God-given stewardship over his home and family, the outcome
may be similar: greater sharing of household tasks and more hours spent in housework.
Our findings echo those from Voicu et al.’s (2009) exploration of religion and housework
in a European context. Non-western Protestant, Western and other Catholic countries,
Orthodox, Buddhist and nonreligious countries exhibit more traditional patterns of
domestic labor. These findings speak to the influence of national religious culture on the
development of gender attitudes. The conceptualization of appropriately gendered
participation in household tasks is influenced by religious beliefs on the divine establishment
of gender roles and who carries the primary responsibility for the home sphere (Bartkowski,
2001; Shah et al., 2016). However, our findings indicate that conservative religious
membership and reduced housework participation do not enjoy a direct, linear relationship;
rather, highly religious men may find themselves taking on a greater share of housework
despite their feelings on the gendered nature of those tasks.
This article provides a foundation for further research into religion’s association with
household labor. One avenue for further research involves addressing Protestant men’s
housework participation cross-nationally, as there is a great deal of variation between
Protestant traditions. Adding cultural zones to analyses focused on macro-level indicators
of housework participation proved fruitful for this study and showed a great deal of
406 Social Compass 67(3)
variation across zones. Cultural zones should be explored as a complement to other
macro level measures of housework participation such as welfare state regimes and
measures of gender equality. Data sets with larger numbers of non-Christian religious
affiliates are especially needed in establishing a thorough understanding of religion’s
influence on men’s housework participation.
We draw two broad conclusions from our study. First, the association between religion
and men’s housework performance is complex, and the findings about cross-national
variation between religious traditions should be a starting point to examine how national-
level religious culture shapes the gendered division of labor. While we hope that religion
scholars will examine the domestic division of labor in more detail in future research, the
second conclusion we draw from our study is that housework scholars should not assume
that men’s religious identities and practices are simply interchangeable with attitudes
about gender. Religion needs to be included more systematically in research on housework
and couple relationships. By bridging these two bodies of work, greater insight can be
gleaned into the cultural contexts within which couples develop notions of appropriate
labor sharing both within and outside of the home.
The authors wish to thank Wade Cole and the editors and anonymous reviewers at Social Compass
for comments on earlier drafts of this work.
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this
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Author biographies
Bethany GULL is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Utah. She
studies identity and religion as they intersect with topics including gender and sexuality, housework
participation, and social movements. Her recent research focuses on identity work and collective
action mobilization among conservative religious disaffiliates.
Address: 380 S. 1530 E., Room 301, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.
Claudia GEIST is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and the Division of
Gender Studies at the University of Utah. She studies the intersection of gender, inequality, and
family, examining topics ranging from the division of labor to the ways in which economic
circumstances affect pregnancy intentions. Her recent work focuses the structural context of family
planning and reproductive justice.
Address: 260 Central Campus Drive, Suite 4200, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.
... The role of religious values and their impact in contemporary societies continue to be the focus of researchers as both institutions go through the changes affected by modernization processes (Ammerman and Roof 1995;Ammons and Edgell 2007). The most recent research into the way religion and family institutions interact focuses on gendering practices and their impact on childcare and housework divisions (Goldscheider et al. 2014;May and Reynolds 2018;Perales and Bouma 2019;Frenkel and Wasserman 2020;Gull and Geist 2020). ...
... Petts (2018) found that fathers who take leave and attend religious services were more likely to be involved with their children than fathers who take leave but do not attend religious services. Gull and Geist (2020) found that increased religious participation was associated with men's greater participation in some housework tasks and time spent on housework, though the findings show great variation by task, religious tradition, level of religious attendance and across cultural zones. The research found that increased religious participation at the individual and cultural zone levels was associated with greater participation in some housework tasks and time spent on housework. ...
... The latter two tend to create less-favorable cultures for gender equality in Europe. The research has shown an increasing involvement in family practices by more religious fathers providing a more family-centered path and a more egalitarian path by non-religious fathers (Gull and Geist 2020). ...
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This paper aims to analyze the way religious identification and practices influence family practices in the division of labor in childcare and housework in contemporary Lithuania. The analysis is based on a quantitative survey (n = 3000) representing the last Soviet generation born between 1970 and 1984. The sample was distributed across five groups according to religious identification and practices-devout religionists, somewhat devout religionists, traditional religionists, cultural religionists and secularists. Statistical data analysis showed devout religionists and secu-larists were applying equal childcare and housework division practices. Meanwhile, the other three groups were practicing more traditional types of childcare and housework division practice where the main role is played by women. The results also show that religious identity is not relevant in explaining the way couples share the housemework duties. The results show that religious identification may lead to diverse family practices regarding childcare and housework divisions: the reflexive and practiced (non)religious identification leads to more egalitarian family practices.
... Extensive research shows that women enjoy higher rates of political representation, labor force participation, and educational attainment in countries where Protestantism predominates, both in Europe and elsewhere (e.g., Bayanpourtehrani and Sylwester, 2012;Cooray and Potrafke, 2011;Feldmann, 2007Feldmann, , 2018Inglehart et al., 2002;Kenworthy and Malami, 1999;Meyer, 2006;Norton and Tomal, 2009;Paxton et al., 2006;Potrafke and Ursprung, 2012;Reynolds, 1999;Rosen, 2013;Wängnerud, 2009). Studies also suggest that Protestantism equalizes gender relations in the domestic sphere, with men devoting more time to household chores in predominantly Protestant countries (Gull and Geist, 2020). Whether these effects also extend to respect for women's civil liberties remains to be seen. ...
Using data for a majority of the world’s countries over a 25- to 55-year period, this paper analyzes cross-cultural heterogeneity in women’s civil liberties independently of and relative to men. Civil liberties include the freedoms of discussion and movement, freedom from forced labor, property rights, and access to justice. Regression analyses show that women’s civil liberties vary considerably across cultural zones defined by the intersection of religious traditions and geographical regions. These patterns persist even when controlling for factors such as democracy and development. Accounting for women’s political representation and educational attainment often reduces but never eliminates these cross-cultural differences; the same is true for embeddedness in world society. In contrast, women’s labor force participation all but erases negative cultural effects, and instrumental-variables analyses suggest that this factor is a causal determinant of women’s civil liberties. Efforts to improve women’s rights should therefore focus on overcoming cultural barriers to their workforce participation.
Objective In this work, I document variation in husbands' participation in household duties, an indicator of gender equality, by comparing ethnoreligious affiliation group, human capital, and autonomy. Background Scholars posit a relationship between religiosity and traditional gender relations, impacted by cultural norms and women's human capital. Israel's diverse ethnoreligious landscape provides an excellent context for empirically evaluating posited relationships. Method The study analyzed quantitative data from the Israel Social Survey on 1,900 married women (1,529 Jews and 371 Arabs). Results Husbands of Arab women were 83% less likely than husbands of Jewish women to share household duties. Among Jewish couples, husbands of traditional‐religious women were 29% less likely than husbands of secular women to share household duties. Further, among Jewish couples, there was no difference in husbands' sharing of household duties between ultra‐Orthodox women and secular women. Among Arabs, Druze husbands were almost 3 times more likely to participate than Muslim husbands. Among Arab Muslims, religious husbands were 2.40 times more likely to share household duties than nonreligious Muslims. Conclusion Findings support C. Goldscheider's culture hypothesis, suggesting that the uniqueness of the affiliation group is most important. However, although human capital did not strongly moderate husbands' participation, women's autonomy did. Implication Public policy should be sensitive to differences between ethnoreligious groups in supporting gender equality. For instance, policy makers should encourage religious leaders to preach values that promote such equality.
Religion has historically been a pronatalist force, but because it fosters traditional gender role attitudes, its importance for fertility has the potential to wane if gender equality is emerging as the new natalism. We used World Values Survey (WVS) data from 1989 to 2020 to determine whether the religious fertility advantage has changed over the last three decades, with a particular focus on low‐fertility countries where egalitarian gender role attitudes are most likely to support childbearing. The fertility advantage associated with holding traditional gender role attitudes has indeed decreased over time, but this had at best a minimal effect on the religious fertility advantage.
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God imagery has been shown to have a profound influence on a diverse array of attitudes and behaviors. Research has also underscored the religious antecedents of traditionalist gender ideologies. This study integrates these parallel literatures by examining the degree to which gendered God imagery is a transposable schema that is associated with attitudes toward mothers’ paid labor force participation. We hypothesize that otherworldly schemas predicated on gender difference—namely, paternal and maternal images of God—have this-worldly consequences by reinforcing opposition to mothers’ workforce participation. Analyses of General Social Survey data reveal strong support for this hypothesis. The evidence also demonstrates that paternal God images produce particularly robust and persistent opposition to mothers’ labor force participation net of other factors. Additional hypotheses about the interaction effects exhibited by gendered God imagery, prayer, and worship service attendance are modestly supported. We conclude by discussing our study’s implications and outlining directions for future research. Keywords: gender, women, God image, religion, workforce.
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Background Gendered trends in housework provide an important insight into changing gender inequality. In particular, they shed light on the debate over the stalling of the 'gender revolution'. Additionally, the gender division of housework is significantly related to couple well-being; disagreements over housework are among the major sources of marital conflict. Objective The objective is to bring the evidence on gendered trends in time spent on core housework up to date, and to investigate cross-national variation in those trends. Methods Using 66 time use surveys from 19 countries, we apply a random-intercept, random-slope model to investigate half a century of change in gender differences in housework (1961-2011). Results There is a general movement in the direction of greater gender equality, but with significant country differences in both the level and the pace of convergence. Specifically, there was a slowing of gender convergence from the late 1980s in those countries where men and women's time in housework was already more equal, with steeper gender convergence continuing in those countries where the gender division of housework was less equal. Conclusions Our findings support the view that despite short-term stalls, slow-downs, and even reverses, as well as important differences in national policy contexts, the overall cross-national picture shows a continuing trend towards greater gender equality in the performance of housework.
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This study analyzes patterns of cross-cultural variability and convergence in two categories of human rights: bodily integrity (protection from torture, extrajudicial killing, and other forms of physical repression) and civil liberties (the freedoms of expression, assembly, movement, and religion). Countries are delineated into twelve cultural zones based primarily on predominant religious tradition and secondarily on geographical region. The core hypothesis predicts that respect for bodily integrity rights, which seeks to protect biological beings from physical harm, will vary less across cultures than respect for civil liberties, which empowers social and cultural entities to be self-determining agents. Individuals’ capacity for pain and suffering is thought to be universal, but conceptions of the bounded and autonomous actor are culturally constructed and hence variable across cultures. Statistical analyses support this hypothesis: compared with civil liberties scores, cross-cultural variation in bodily integrity scores is much lower and also less durable in the presence of control variables. Moreover, whereas civil liberties scores are substantially higher in Western countries than in the rest of the world, cross-cultural variability in bodily integrity scores is gradational rather than polarized.
How does place structure the gendered division of household labor? Because people’s living spaces and lifestyles differ dramatically across urban, suburban, and rural areas, it follows that time spent on household chores may vary across places. In cities, for example, many households do not have vehicles or lawns, and housing units tend to be relatively small. Urban men’s and women’s time use therefore provides insight into how partners contribute to household chores when there is less structural demand for the types of tasks they typically do. We examine these dynamics using data on heterosexual married individuals from the American Time Use Survey combined with the Current Population Survey. We find that urban men spend relatively little time on male-typed chores, but they spend the same amount of time on female-typed chores as their suburban and rural counterparts. This pattern suggests that urban men do not “step up” their involvement in female-typed tasks even though they contribute little in the way of other housework. In contrast, urbanicity rarely predicts women’s time use, implying that women spend considerable time on household chores regardless of where they live. Implications for research on gender and housework are discussed.
As female labor force participation rates have increased during the past twenty years, scholarly interest in the impacts of spousal employment and its characteristics on the division of household labor has expanded. There is agreement in the literature that the former should impact the latter. Less consensus exists concerning the precise nature of the linkages between the two and the ability to generalize these linkages across different advanced industrial societies.
Women’s and men’s time use is more similar today than it was in the 1960s, when specialization in adult roles was at its peak, but convergence remains stubbornly out of sight. This chapter updates earlier trend studies of time use and finds that recent data confirm the most consistent findings from earlier analyses. The greater similarity of women’s and men’s time use today is due much more to changes among women than among men. Further, despite declines in women’s housework time, the increase in women’s childcare time and paid work time has resulted in a gender gap in leisure time. New findings from this analysis reveal the gender gap in leisure is accounted for by men’s higher levels of television time.
Drawing on quantitative analysis of three data sets - the Worker Registration Scheme, the Labour Force Survey, and the UK2000 Time Use Survey - and through an analysis of gendered use of time, this article provides an investigation of the small but growing phenomenon of male (migrant) domestic workers, and more specifically, of what we term the '(migrant) handyman phenomenon', in the UK. The article provides some preliminary documentation and discussion of the scale, characteristics, and drivers of the supply of and demand for these workers. By handymen we are referring to men doing traditionally 'masculine' domestic jobs such as home maintenance and gardening. We explore the gender-differentiated character of household work, including care, the implications for the gendered forms and quality of time experienced by women and men, and the ensuing feasibility of and demand for outsourcing these stereotypically masculine activities. In so doing we acknowledge the potential of current expectations of men to be both breadwinners and hands-on fathers to generate new time pressures for households. We also document the supply of migrant handymen coming from the accession countries of the European Union. By focusing on stereotypically masculinized forms of domestic work the article seeks to make a modest contribution to the literature on globalization, migration and social reproduction, which to date has largely focused on the more prevalent phenomenon of migrants engaged in traditionally female domestic work such as cleaning and caring.
In this survey study, we investigate factors that predict the extent of men’s engagement in housework in South Korea. Using data collected from 466 working fathers during the period from March 2013 to August 2013, it was found that a more egalitarian gender ideology and supervisor support for work–family balance were significant predictors of the frequency of men’s participation in housework (i.e., child-rearing activities and household chores), but that long work hours, which are prevalent in South Korea, moderated these relationships. More specifically, the condition of long average work hours reduced the positive effect of an egalitarian gender ideology and a supportive supervisor attitude on the extent of housework. Therefore, we contend that the effects of changes in individuals’ attitudes toward men’s housework will be limited without addressing cultural norms of overwork or “work devotion” in South Korea.