Gender and housework : postretirement change Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/x633f316t

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  • Retirement is a later life transition that may affect a variety of areas in a person's life. One area is the division of household labor. Historically, women have been responsible for and performed the majority of household labor. Women's responsibility for household labor follows the traditional dual sphere ideology, which is that women are responsible for the home and family and men are responsible for providing income. The transition to retirement may change the division of household labor and the relationship between gender attitudes and how much men and women invest in household labor. This issue was addressed using longitudinal data from the National Survey of Families and Households. The sample consisted of 172 married men and women who were not working full time and who self-identified as retired. Structural Equation Modeling was used to assess the relationship between gender attitude and investment in routine tasks before and after the retirement transition. For this sample, gender attitude and investment in routine tasks were stable over time. Results show that the relationship between gender attitude and investment in routine tasks was not significant for men but marginally significant for women. Women who had an egalitarian attitude before retirement increased their investment in routine tasks after retirement, which was opposite of the expected relationship. Housework may be used as a source of power for these women who may increase their investment to keep a power balance in their marriage. The results suggest that the retirement transition does not greatly influence the relationship between gender attitude and household labor. Further study should assess the influence of situational factors on this relationship. Situational pressures, such as external group norms or health complications, may affect the influence of gender attitudes on housework investment. Additionally, structural differences, such as remarriage or gay and lesbian relationships, may be important contexts in which to examine this relationship. Examining situational influences and researching different contexts are important future directions in the study of the division of household labor.
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