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Education of Women as Key Driver for Household Equality New Study Finds

A new study finds a clear connection between women’s academic education and gender equality in the division of housework. The findings show that among couples where the woman is educated, there is a tendency for more egalitarian gender attitudes and functioning, even if the man is not highly educated.

 

A new study by Dr. Liat Raz-Yurovich from the Federmann School of Public Policy and Governance and the Dept. of Sociology and Prof. Barbara S. Okun from the Department of Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has shed new light on the dynamics of household chore responsibilities among couples, highlighting the significant role of women´s educational attainment in shaping attitudes and behaviors regarding gender roles.

 

On average, women dedicate around two and a half hours to housework each day, compared to men who contribute 45 minutes. This contrast in time allocation highlights the enduring gender disparity in household responsibilities. Despite advancements in educational attainment, traditional gender roles continue to shape domestic dynamics. The study’s insights, drawn from a comprehensive British survey, underscore the need to address this inequality.

 

Utilizing data from an extensive British survey encompassing thousands of heterosexual couples, the study delves into the relationship between the educational levels of spouses and their approach to dividing household duties. The researchers focused particularly on comparing families where both partners are highly educated with those where only one or neither partner holds a higher education degree.

 

Key findings of the study reveal that highly educated women are more likely to advocate for and practice a more equitable sharing of household chores with their partners, irrespective of the man’s level of education. This shift suggests a redefinition of traditional gender roles within these relationships. “Educated women are not only advocating for equal distribution but are also reducing the amount of time they personally spend on these tasks,” Dr. Raz-Yurovich explained.

 

Prof. Okun emphasized the broader implications of these dynamics, stating, “The persistent inequality in the division of housework and family care can exacerbate social inequalities and adversely affect the professional and economic status of women.” She added, “Our findings suggest that highly educated women are likely at the forefront of challenging and transforming traditional gender norms.”

 

The study contributes to a growing body of research that supports the critical role women’s education plays in fostering gender equity in domestic roles, promising a potential pathway to mitigating long-standing social disparities.

 

The research paper titled “Are highly educated partners really more gender egalitarian? A couple-level analysis of social class differentials in attitudes and behaviors” is now available in Demographic Research and can be accessed at https://doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2024.50.34.

 

Researchers:

Liat Raz-Yurovich1, Barbara S. Okun2

 

Institutions:

1) The Federmann School of Public Policy and Governance, and Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, Demographic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

2) The Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Demographic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

 

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel’s premier academic and research institution. Serving over 23,000 students from 80 countries, the University produces nearly 40% of Israel’s civilian scientific research and has received over 11,000 patents. Faculty and alumni of the Hebrew University have won eight Nobel Prizes and a Fields Medal. For more information about the Hebrew University, please visit http://new.huji.ac.il/en. 

 

 

 

 

 

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