Care in Context: Men's Unpaid Work in 20 Countries, 1965–2003

Hook, J.
American Sociological Association
Publication date: 
August 2006

What are the national structures that hinder and facilitate men’s unpaid work?  The author proposes that national context, presented here as women's employment practices and policies, influences men's unpaid work behaviors by shaping the benefits of adapting, the terms of bargaining, and the ease of adhering to established gender ideologies and norms. She finds that men's unpaid work time increases with national levels of women's employment. Furthermore, the effect of children on men's unpaid work time depends on women's national employment hours, the length of available parental leave, and men's eligibility to take parental leave, which indicates that particular public policies affect men’s behavior in the household.

Using 44 time-use surveys from 20 countries (spanning 1965 to 2003) combined with original national-level data, the author utilizes multilevel models to test hypotheses regarding this aforementioned relationship between national context and men's unpaid work behaviors. The results show that policies that free women from work for childcare, diminish men’s contribution in the home. Among the recommendation the author highlights the need to extend parental leave to men in order to increase men’s contributions. (Adapted from author’s summary).

American Sociological Review. 71.4: 639-660
Publication place: 
Washington DC
Hook, J. L. (2006). Care in context: Men's unpaid work in 20 countries, 1965–2003. American sociological review, 71.4: 639-660
men's unpaid work
wage gap
maternity leave
paternal leave
employee benefits
gender relations
household structures
Gender equality