Housework, gender role attitudes, and couples' fertility intentions: reconsidering men's roles in gender theories of family change

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Population and Development Review


Barbara S. Okun and Liat Raz-Yurovich

Publication date


In this paper, we present an integrated set of analyses that test the interrelationships among partners’ gender egalitarianism, housework hours, and fertility intentions over the life course. We utilize five waves of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and one wave from Understanding Society (UNSO) to trace couples’ fertility intentions over time, in response to changes in housework hours and subsequent to (additional) birth(s). We find evidence that men's housework increases with each additional child, and that more egalitarian men increase their housework more with each child. However, we do not find evidence that men's contributions to housework carry over into consensus concerning partners’ intentions to have at least one more child. Thus, we find only partial support for gender theories of family change.

Volume and page numbers

45, 169-196





Social Change, Childbearing: Fertility, Life Course Analysis, Social Attitudes and Sociology Of Households