Gender inequality in the life course. The effect of parenthood in the division of unpaid work

Joan Garcia Roman, University of Minnesota
Marc Ajenjo, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Nuria Garcia Saladrigas, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

The aim of this paper is to test if younger generations are more egalitarian or if the more similar behavior among younger generations is due to factors associated with the life cycle. Data used in the analysis are from the two editions of the Spanish time use surveys carried out in 2002-2003 and 2009-2010. These surveys allow the comparison the use of time of different generations at two moments in time. The unit of analysis is the couple and we measure the grade of equality within the couple using differences in time devoted to unpaid work (housework and caregiving) between the spouses. We analyze differences at both moments for generations born between 1982 and 1963. We focus on changes observed when there is a transition from 0 to 1 child and from 1 child to 2 children. According to previous literature, parenthood reinforces traditional gender roles and is a trigger for inequalities within couples. So we expect that the arrival of children will increase the inequality in couples and their difference in time use will be larger. Preliminary results confirm what we expect. There is greater difference in time devoted to unpaid work with the arrival of a newborn. However this pattern is not the same in the transition from 1 to 2 children, which may suggest a smaller impact of the second child on couples’ division of unpaid work.

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Presented in Session 5: Demographic consequences of gender inequality and division of labour