For dual-income husbands and wives, it's still a man's world

Apr 01, 2010

Decades of progress may have earned women their place at the office, but it hasn't won them an equal partnership in the home - and that puts hard-working women at a distinct disadvantage to their male peers.

Youngjoo Cha, Cornell doctoral candidate in sociology, finds that having a husband who works 50 hours or more per week can hurt women's careers. have less time available to do paid work because they still are expected to do more and perform most of the caregiving responsibilities, as reported in "Reinforcing Separate Spheres: The Effect of Spousal Overwork on Men's and Women's Employment in Dual-Earner Households" in the April 2010 edition of , a peer-reviewed journal, published by the American Sociological Association.

Cha's work looked at 8,484 professional workers and 17,648 nonprofessional workers from dual-earner families, using data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. Her analysis shows that overall, having a husband who works 60 hours or more per week increases a woman's odds of quitting by 42 percent. However, for husbands, having a wife who works 60 hours or more per week does not significantly affect a man's odds of quitting. The odds of quitting increase by 51 percent for professional women whose husbands work 60 hours or more per week, and for professional mothers the odds they will quit their jobs jumps 112 percent. By contrast, for professional , both parents and non-parents, the effects a wife working long hours are negligible.

Cha says:

"As long work-hours introduce conflict between and family into many dual-earner families, couples often resolve conflict in ways that prioritize husbands' careers. Having a husband who works long hours significantly increases a woman's likelihood of quitting, while having a wife who works long hours does not affect a man's likelihood of quitting.

"This effect is magnified among workers in professional and managerial occupations, where the norm of overwork and the culture of intensive parenting tend to be strongest. The findings suggest that the prevalence of overwork may lead many dual-earner couples to return to a separate spheres arrangement -- breadwinning men and homemaking women."

Explore further: Change 'authoritarian' football culture to produce future stars, says research

Related Stories

Long work hours widen the gender gap

Aug 01, 2008

Working overtime has a disproportionate impact on women in dual-earner households, exacerbating gender inequality and supporting the "separate sphere" phenomenon in which men are the breadwinners while women tend to the home, ...

Dad's overworked and tired while mom's potentially fired

Jun 16, 2009

If dad looks exhausted this Father's Day it could be due to his job, suggests new research that found many male employees are now pressured to work up to 40 hours of overtime—often unpaid— per week to stay competitive.

More Men Tackle Household Tasks

Mar 07, 2008

American men are helping with chores and child care more than ever, a trend that ultimately contributes to healthier marriages, according to a researcher at the University of California, Riverside.

Recommended for you

Male-biased tweeting

4 hours ago

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...

Developing nations ride a motorcycle boom

5 hours ago

Asia's rapidly developing economies should prepare for a full-throttle increase in motorcycle numbers as average incomes increase, a new study from The Australian National University has found.

User comments : 6

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Crucialitis
not rated yet Apr 01, 2010
Makes sense, men are expendable and their bodies are on a slow burn instead of being set to 'rock out' for 23 days straight.
Sanescience
not rated yet Apr 02, 2010
I suspect psychology plays a big part. Men may just not feel the "urgency" to clean house.
Hyperion1110
not rated yet Apr 02, 2010
So, the guy is working his butt off more than 60 hours a week, but the woman is still complaining that she has too much to do?! Something is amiss here!
Dr_Science
not rated yet Apr 02, 2010
These results should not come as a surprise.
The cost of reproduction, in nature's terms, has
always been high. Especially for the inheritors of
the mammalian persuasion. If we really understood
evolution, and the biological roles it exacts from
all of us, these differences would be obvious.
Paradox
not rated yet Apr 04, 2010
This article does not take into account the income that each partner is bringing in. Perhaps one reason that many of the woman quit is a decision based upon the amount of income that will be lost. Generally men make a higher income then women. Could it be that the 20 extra hours of "overtime" would come close to replacing the woman's income, thereby negating the need for her to work away from home? That seems a more likely scenario.
This is just another Physorg article placed here for it's shock value.
GregHight
not rated yet Apr 05, 2010
Maybe the article should be titled, "The harder a man works, wives more likely to live a life of leisure." Gotta love how the article makes this look like a "bad" thing for women.

More news stories

Male-biased tweeting

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...

Archaeologists, tribe clash over Native remains

Archaeologists and Native Americans are clashing over Indian remains and artifacts that were excavated during a construction project in the San Francisco Bay Area, but then reburied at an undisclosed location.

Math modeling handbook now available

Math comes in handy for answering questions about a variety of topics, from calculating the cost-effectiveness of fuel sources and determining the best regions to build high-speed rail to predicting the spread ...