Occupational Sex Composition and Gendered Housework Performance: Compensation or Conventionality?

Elizabeth McClintock, University of Notre Dame

I examine the association between occupational sex composition (the proportion of women in an occupation) and housework performance, considering total housework time, time on male-typed and female-typed tasks specifically, and the share of total time spent on male-typed and on female-typed tasks. Previous research (Schneider 2012) suggests that women and men compensate for employment in gender-atypical occupations by increasing the gender-typicality of their housework performance (e.g., a man in a predominately-female occupation would do more “manly” chores). However, using data on single and partnered women and men from the National Survey of Families and Households (1992-1994) and the American Time Use Survey (2003-2012), I find that women and men in gender-atypical occupations perform a more gender-atypical combination of chores. By expecting a more complex process (compensatory gender display), prior researchers may have overlooked the simpler explanation that individuals employed in gender-atypical occupations are less committed to conventional gender expectations broadly.

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Presented in Session 30: New Research on Gender and Housework