Diversity but not equality: Domestic labour in cohabiting relationships

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Abstract

This paper examines the domestic labour arrangements of cohabiting couples and the implications for gender equality. The discussion is based on a predominantly qualitative study of thirty young cohabiters. The men and women shared domestic labour in diverse ways but not equally, instead they used discursive strategies to avoid assessing whether their contributions were equal. The cohabiters expressed extremely egalitarian attitudes when asked general questions about society but equality is absent when they discuss their own relationships. I argue that the concept of equality is part of public discourse rather than a fundamental principle of cohabiting relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-283
Number of pages17
JournalAustralian Journal of Social Issues
Volume34
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes

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