IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Gender equality for whom? The changing division of paid work and housework among US couples

16 March 2022, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Couple with children at home. Image by olly / Adobe Stock.

In this webinar, Léa Pessin will discuss how couples’ work-family arrangements have changed over time in the United States between 1968 and 2019.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Jenny Chanfreau

In response to women’s changing roles in labor markets, couples have adopted varied strategies to reconcile career and family needs. Yet, most studies on the gender division of labor focus almost exclusively on changes either in the work or family domain or are limited to specific points in time or population subgroups.

Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and latent-class analysis, Léa will discuss a paper that provides the first population-based estimates of the couple-level work-family arrangements in the US, and how these have changed over time. 

She identifies seven distinct arrangements (traditional, neotraditional, her-second-shift, egalitarian, his-second-shift, female-breadwinner, and neither-working couples), documents trends in the share of couples who fall into each of these groups, and consider social stratification. 

Between 1968 and 2019, traditional couples experienced the largest decrease in prevalence, giving room to egalitarian couples but also unconventional work-family arrangements. These work-family arrangements are distributed unequally across social strata, underscoring the increasing polarisation of Americans’ caregiving patterns and work opportunities by social class.

This event will be particularly useful for those interested in quantitative social science, gender equality and household division of labour.

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About the Speaker

Dr Léa Pessin

Assistant professor of Sociology and Demography at Pennsylvania State University

Léa is also affiliated with the Population Research Institute. Her research focuses on the unequal consequences of the gender revolution on women’s work and family outcomes across class, race-ethnicity, and geographic contexts.