Welfare Policies

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State-level welfare policies and provisions contribute greatly to shaping gender relations within families. Scholars show that the national contexts influence gender ideology as well as the gendered division of labor within households. While women still perform most of the domestic work disproportionately, some welfare policies have successfully encouraged both women’s (paid) labor force participation and men’s greater involvement in household work. Using multiple theoretical frameworks regarding flexible and inflexible gendered household roles, Hook finds that the national context matters both structurally and culturally. When women participate in the labor force at a higher level, husband’s time spent on domestic work tends to increase. Public childcare provisions lead to less time spent on inflexible domestic work among women, but do not affect men’s time spent on domestic …show more content…
They find that two theoretical perspectives explain the different patterns of gendered division of household labor between the two countries. Sweden exhibit characteristics of the relative resources perspective, where one’s increase in income leads to decrease in his/her time spent on housework for both sexes. In the United States, “doing gender” is the most apparent. Disregarding women’s occupational status, they tend to do more housework than men. Even when their male partners are economically dependent on them, women perform more housework than their partners—as a way to reify their masculinity by not performing housework. Similarly in Sweden, women still perform more housework compared to men in general and especially in families with children, due to the “doing gender” ideology where childcare is considered to be women’s work in general. In sum, normative gender ideology at the individual and household-level affect patterns of gendered