Articles

Satisfaction with the Division of Household Tasks in Switzerland : A Longitudinal Approach

Caroline Henchoz  By the same author

      Boris Wernli  By the same author

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A longitudinal analysis of data from the Swiss Household Panel shows that satisfaction with the division of household tasks decreases when children aged 0-17 are present in the household, subsequently increases, and then drops again after retirement. This W-shaped pattern over time varies across individuals, however, as the sense of satisfaction is a construct that is gendered and generational, individual and interactional. Although the effect is small, men’s satisfaction is more influenced by the number of hours spent on housework than that of women, so despite large inequalities, women often report being satisfied with household organization. Women’s satisfaction depends on a larger number of factors, notably increasing expectations of equality over the generations. It is correlated above all with their partner’s practical and emotional involvement. Overall, men’s and women’s satisfaction with the division of household tasks depends primarily on their perception of a number of aspects of common life which go beyond the domestic sphere, such as their partner’s feelings. Thus, to fully capture the sense of satisfaction, an analysis must include not only the type of household tasks concerned, as is often the case, but also the context within which they are divided and the individuals involved.