Gender Inequality and the Division of Household Labor in the United States and Sweden: A Socialist-Feminist Approach
Calasanti, Toni M.
Bailey, Carol A.
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In this paper, we offer a socialist-feminist framework for exploring the persistence of gender inequality in the division of household labor. The inconsistent results generated by the relative resources, gender-role ideology, and time-availability hypotheses speak to the need to examine the structural bases for power relations based on gender. Emphasizing the relative autonomy and interrelations of capitalism and patriarchy, socialist-feminism posits that different forms of patriarchal capitalism have varying effects on the division of household labor. (We thus examine the usefulness of this approach by exploring the relationships expressed in three traditional hypotheses about gender inequality and the performance of five household tasks in the United States and Sweden.) The results of our regression analyses indicate that previous perspectives do not adequately examine the power differential embodied in gender relations and that socialist-feminism may give us insights into why gender inequities in the home are maintained despite progressive legislation.