The State of Domestic Affairs: Housework, Gender and State-Level Gender Empowerment

Leah Ruppanner, University of Melbourne
David Maume, University of Cincinnati

Country-level gender empowerment is consistently shown to structure housework arrangements. Across the body of research, the United States is treated as a single entity. Yet, state-to-state differences in women’s power suggest that gender empowerment at the state level may structure housework at the individual-level. To address this gap, we pair individual-level data from the American Time Use Survey (2003-2012; n=123,262) with four state-level indicators of gender empowerment: the percentages of women working full-time, with a college degree, and in managerial positions, and the female-male wage ratio. Our results indicate that women’s full-time employment rate is negatively associated with women’s housework time. Further, women do less and men more housework in states where more women hold college degrees. For married women, however, the benefit to women’s state-level college education reverses with married women spending more time in housework in areas with more educated women. These effects are not significant for mothers of young children.

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Presented in Session 188: Determinants and Correlates of Domestic Gender Equality