Gender division of tasks by parents and their children

Ailsa Burns*, Ross Hornel

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    The division of parenting tasks between wives and husbands was explored in a sample of 279 Australian families containing a 9–1 1‐year‐old child, and the children's performance of household tasks was compared with their parents' division of labor. Three parenting factors (domestic care, leisure/enrichment, and psychological), and four child factors (handyman, domestic, maturity, and babysitting) were obtained. Mothers were more active than fathers on all three parenting factors, but significant differences were found between parents of differing SES and cultural backgrounds. Among children, the greatest sex difference was found on the handyman factor, where boys greatly outperformed girls. Boys' performance on this factor was not related to parental division of labor or social background, but girls' performance was higher when they were only children and when they lived in higher SES families. Girls outperformed boys on the domestic and maturity factors. Parenting style, SES, and cultural background also were significantly related to these factor scores. Apart from child's sex, cultural background was the strongest predictor of children's task performance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)113-125
    Number of pages13
    JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1989


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