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Influence of Spouses' Educational Background on Family Division of Labor
Source:Chinese Women's Research Network | Release Date:2017-7-26-
Title: Influence of Spouses' Educational Background on Family Division of Labor
Author:
Source: wsic.ac.cn
Release Date: July 21, 2017
Keyword: Spouse, Educational Background, Family Division of Labor
 
In this article, the author tries to make a further analysis on the influence of educational background on the division of labor between husbands and wives.
 
Theoretical Interpretations of the Relationship Between Couples' Educational Background and Family Division of Labor
 
- Theory of Relative Resources 
 
For a married couple, the one with more social and personal resources often uses this higher bargaining power to avoid housework, leading to the other one undertaking more housework. 
 
Therefore, the ideal concept always points to couples with similar educational backgrounds being more conducive to sharing housework fairly. 
 
- Time Availability Hypothesis + Theory of Human Capital
 
Time availability hypothesis assumes that based on the principle of maximizing family benefits, family division of labor is determined by the time value of couples. That means the one with the higher time value bears less housework. 
 
According to the theory of human capital, the higher the level of education the husband or his wife has, the higher time value he or she gets, leading to the one with the higher time value taking on less housework.
 
As a result, it is often an economically rational choice for a spouse with a higher level of education to do less housework. 
 
- Theory of Gender Role 
 
According to the theory of gender roles, people with lower educational backgrounds tend to accept the traditional gender concept that "the husband is in charge of earning money to support the family, while the wife is responsible for looking after the house", while people with a higher education are quite different. 
 
Therefore, the ideal match of 'husband with a higher education + wife with a relatively lower education' is more likely to realize the equal division of housework.
 
Facts of Couples' Educational Background and Family Division of Labor
 
According to surveys of Chinese women's social status released in 2000 and 2010, the proportion of Chinese married couples equally sharing the housework has been rising gradually. 
 
Over 18 percent of married couples aged 18-64 across the country can equally share the housework in 2010, an increase of 3 percent compared to 2000, according to surveys.
 
Data showed that for about 26 percent where "the wife is one level of education higher than her husband" and for 54 percent where "the wife is two levels higher than her husband", the housework is equally shared. 
 
Conclusion and Enlightenment
 
With the popularity of education in China, the rapid improvement of women's education objectively changes people's traditional concepts that men are superior to women, boosting equal gender division of labor.
 
Therefore, the author suggested that the concept of gender equality should be highlighted in the development of education, paying more attention to women's education with special needs and creating a better public opinion environment so as to realize equality between men and women.
 
This article is compiled based on The Impact of Spouses' Educational Background on Men's Equal Participation in Housework by Niu Jianlin, which was published in Population and Economics in February 2017. 
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