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Investigating the housework triangle: European reflections on gender, the market and the state

An essential question highlighted by many researchers’ remains: Why do the division of domestic labour remain so unequal in all European countries despite an increasing access to paid-employment? However, recent cross-national studies indicate that the division of housework varies considerably between countries. It is for instance more equal in countries with a strong divorce culture, in countries where cohabitation is common, and in countries that have high gender empowerment. Equal sharing of housework by partners is also more common in liberal and social-democratic welfare regimes than in conservative ones.
An inter-disciplinary approach and a comparative perspective therefore provide a solid basis for new important research in this field. Using both cross-national and national datasets, the overall aim of this project is to further increase our understanding of the underlying mechanisms governing the gendered division of household work in Europe. Theoretical explanations tested stem mainly from either sociology or economics, and can be specific to one country, be it for the particularities of the country or for the availability of specific indicators in a dataset. In other words, the project does not solely aim at cross-national research in the sense it uses a unified dataset. The cross-national nature of the project also lies in its aim to generate explanations, based on national data sets, which have the potential of pan-European relevance. Thus, most planned studies are comparative and will be based on the Multi Time-Use Survey (MTUS), the remaining will at this stage be based on national data sets.