Subjective representations of gender role-set in southern Italy
Interdisciplinary Institute of Life Trajectories University of Lausanne, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences Lausanne, Switzerland
Independent Research Group, Culture of Reproduction Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research Rostock, Germany
Interdisciplinary Institute of Life Trajectories (& Independent Research Group, Culture of Reproduction) University of Lausanne, Faculty of Social and Politcal Sciences (& Max Planck Institiute for Demographic Research) Lausanne (& Rostock), Switzerland (& Germany)
Research on gender role-sets and share of domestic labor among partners has mostly used diaries and time use surveys to compare the number of hours men and women devote to domestic and paid labor. Mostly quantitative, this research pointed out how women's rise in labor market participation has not been accompanied by a rise in men participation in domestic labor. Whereas some little change has been found concerning father's involvement in childcare, domestic chores remain mainly a women's task. However little research is devoted to the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of women regarding the gender role-set they are experiencing or the arguments with which they sustain their role-set, both the actual and the desired one. Even less research focus on the desired gender role set of childless women. This paper makes secondary use of 55 in-depth interviews carried out in 2004-05 in Naples (southern Italy) with childless women and mothers as well as their partners when available. We develop a theoretical typology of gender role-sets depending on the share of paid work, child care, and domestic work among partners. Our empirical data from southern Italy help defining six of these gender role-set types. We focus on subjective representations of ideal gender role-set and the reference to family, gender, work and religious attitudes and values involved. We also elaborate on respondents' expressions of (dis)satisfaction in each of them and on ideas of equity versus equality.