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Abstract

Increasing numbers of women are becoming members of the labor force. Yet it is not clear to what extent working for wages relieves women of their responsibility for traditional and non-paid activities, such as household work and child care. This study examines the impact of gender on the division of domestic labor among working women and men. This research focuses on three kinds of productive activities (paid work, household work, and child care). In addition to productive activities, two kinds of social activities (time spent with relatives and friends, and time spent in entertainment activities) are included. This research also focuses on a select category of workers--namely, professionals (including lawyers, social workers, high school teachers, and college teachers). These types of careers may place special burdens on women. Finally, several control variables are included in the analysis, such as social status and life style factors, work factors, and several potentially relevent interaction terms. The findings indicate that gender is a major influence on all three types of productive activities. The strongest impact is on domestic work, including associations for gender by itself as well as in interaction with age, having a dependent child, and marital status. On child care, gender interacts with having a dependent child. Gender has almost no effect on social activities, with the only significant association a weak interaction between gender and marital status. These findings raise questions about the pervasiveness of sex role changes in this society. Not only does entering the labor force fail to relieve women of their traditional role responsibilities, it may in fact lead to an increase in what is expected of them.

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