September 11th, 2016
Women generally do more housework than men, but this pattern varies immensely in degree across countries and over time
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: email@example.com
The most interesting sentence:
These patterns of behaviour exist even among individuals living alone
This is a great article, but it doesn’t mention the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis. But this seems to be an example of Sapir–Whorf:
Women generally do more housework than men, but this pattern varies immensely in degree across countries and over time. Why?
Using time-use survey data from the US, we show that female immigrants coming from countries whose dominant language relies on sex-based grammatical distinctions bear a far larger share of housework (Hicks et al. 2015). The more heavily a language’s grammar employs sex-based grammatical distinctions, the greater the burden on women. These gaps are substantial, translating to 9% more housework by women and 28% less by men (compared to other immigrant households, which are already more skewed than non-immigrant households).
Moreover, the division of tasks in these households is more pronounced along stereotypical gender roles, with, for instance, men doing more automobile maintenance and home repair, and women allocating more time to cooking and cleaning. Interestingly, these patterns of behaviour exist even among individuals living alone, suggesting that bargaining and specialisation within marriage is not driving the association.
To study whether language could play a role, we divide migrants by age of arrival and compare individuals from the same country to one another on this basis. Researchers have shown that individuals learn languages best early in life, so late-arrivers will be more likely to speak their mother tongue instead of English.
Figure 1 depicts the additional inequity in housework borne by gender-marked female speakers (in minutes per day) in comparison to other female immigrants. These starkly skewed gender roles appear in the behaviour of individuals who migrate at age eight or later, consistent with evidence on the critical period of language acquisition (Bleakley and Chen 2010).