The Happy Homemaker?: Married Women’s Satisfaction in Cross-national Perspective

Judith Treas, University of California, Irvine
Tanja Van der Lippe, Utrecht University

In response to the growing demographic interest in the distribution of happiness as an indicator of well-being, this paper asks how married women’s satisfaction with family, work, and life in general relates to their labor force participation. Theorizing on this question has identified a number of mechanisms (e.g., self fulfillment, time bind, gender role conflict) by which paid employment is argued to affect married women’s satisfaction, either positively or negatively. Besides individual-level factors such as labor force participation, there are reasons to expect that the characteristics of countries will also affect levels of satisfaction and even condition any association between satisfaction and paid employment. HLM models of micro- and macro-level factors are tested with 2002 ISSP data on 30 countries. Although several country-level characteristics figure in satisfaction, married women’s hours of paid employment are not significantly associated with their satisfaction with family, work or life in general.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 74: Gender Issues: Cross-National Comparisons