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What fairness?: Gendered division of housework and family life satisfaction across 30 countries

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Forthcoming
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>7/12/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>European Sociological Review
<mark>State</mark>Accepted/In press
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

This article sheds new light on the role played by perceived fairness in configuring the relationship between gendered housework division and women’s family life satisfaction across 30 countries. This is achieved by distinguishing and comparing two major dimensions of women’s fairness comparison—inter-gender relational comparison between partners and intra-gender referential comparison with other women from the same society. Analysing data from the 2012 International Social Survey Programme, we find that women’s family life satisfaction is adversely affected by both a lack of relational fairness and unfavourable referential comparison, which operate independently of each other. Supporting the ‘self-serving’ theory, women are found to rely more on one dimension of fairness comparison to assess their family life satisfaction when they compare unfavourably rather than favourably in the other dimension. Country-level gender equality positively predicts the strength of the association between relational fairness and family life satisfaction. However, it does not seem to moderate the influence of referential comparison on family life satisfaction. In light of these results, scholars are urged to consider the perceived fairness of housework division as a plural construct, and to promulgate gender equality in multiple dimensions—addressing not just inter-gender (in)equity but also intra-gender (in)equality—to move the gender revolution forward.