Women’s Employment in Mostly Male Occupations and the Household Division of Labor

Carrie L. Shandra, Brown University

Research on work and family has suggested that as women’s employment characteristics more closely resemble men’s employment characteristics – usually via economic compensation and time investment – men and women become increasingly likely to engage in a more equal division of domestic work. However, given demographic shifts in both the gender composition of the workforce and the social institution of the family, it is also important to consider how women’s male-dominated paid work might affect unpaid work with their male partners. Longitudinal analyses of the NSFH indicate that women’s participation in mostly-male occupations increases their likelihood of engaging in a more equal division of household labor. This effect remains after considering demographic characteristics, household attributes, gender ideology, and the elevated socioeconomic status and increased earnings which may accrue to women who participate in mostly-male occupations. These results suggest that processes of gender segregation are related across work and family contexts.

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Presented in Session 5: Gender, Labor Force, and Earnings