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Does the birth of a child change the division of household tasks between partners?

Population and Societies

461, November 2009

It is well known that household tasks are unequally shared between men and women. Women often do most of the housework, although a trend towards greater equality is perceptible among the younger generations. Do men contribute more to household tasks after a baby is born? Or does the gender gap grow even wider? Arnaud Régnier-Loilier addresses this question using data from the ERFI survey (Étude des relations familiales et intergénérationnelles, the French version of the international Generations and Gender Survey).
As part of the ERFI survey (Étude des relations familiales et intergénérationnelles) conducted by INED, the same couples were asked twice, in 2005 and 2008, about the division of household tasks and their degree of satisfaction. In 2005, among women aged 20-49, 8 in 10 report that they "always" or "usually" do the ironing, 7 in 10 prepare the daily meals and half do the vacuum-cleaning and the shopping for food. The birth of a child increases inequalities. In 2008, 38% of women who had a child between the two survey dates and for whom the division of at least three tasks changed unfavourably expressed greater dissatisfaction than in 2005. Only the division of dish washing and organization of social activities remain largely unchanged.

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