Male same-sex couples and the division of household labour
Pinto, Deirdre Ann
Master of Arts
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Studies on heterosexual couples show that women continue to perform the overwhelming majority of household tasks, and that factors, such as gender, parental influence, relationship status, income, education, age, and occupational status, affect their division of labour. Studies also show that men continue to remain more satisfied with the division of labour than women. The purpose of this study was to examine the division of labour in male same-sex couples, the factors which contribute to the division of labour, satisfaction and perceptions of fairness, and participants’ perceptions regarding conventional gender roles. Using data from 92 questionnaires and 20 interviews, this study found that male couples shared household labour more equitably than heterosexual couples. Factors contributing to their division of labour were unlike those found in studies on heterosexuals. Factors included interest, skill and ability, time in paid labour, and practicality. Other emphasized themes included negotiation, conscious sharing, and the option of hiring help. Overall, participants felt that their sexual orientation gave them the freedom to reject conventional gender roles and invent new ways of sharing domestic labour. Findings from this study add to the growing body of literature on the division of labour in same-sex couples.