Housework allocation and gender (In)equality: The Chinese case

Joyce Lai Ting Leong, Xiaohua Sylvia Chen, Michael Harris Bond

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The present study examines the housework distribution between spouses in Mainland China and from a dyadic perspective. The findings from 211 Chinese couples indicated a pattern consistent with Western findings: housework distribution is lopsided in favor of husbands. On average, wives accounted for two third of the total time that the couples spent on housework. As predicted by relative income theory, the workload was more skewed among couples with a larger discrepancy of personal income. The results also lent partial support to the time-availability theory in that couples with both spouses working fewer hours were more egalitarian in sharing. However, when both of them were heavily involved in paid work, it remained the wives who shouldered the majority of housework, as was the case among couples with full-time housewives. The results showed that more recently married couples allocated housework more equally, indicating a possible cohort effect, probably a phenomenon more characteristic of the developing world. Gender ideology, however, was not found to be a significant predictor of household work allocation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPsychology of Gender Through the Lens of Culture
Subtitle of host publicationTheories and Applications
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783319140056
ISBN (Print)9783319140049
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • China
  • Gender ideology
  • Housework distribution between spouses
  • Human capital theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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