Gender culture or gender system? Family gender arrangements and stay-at-home fathers in Late-Twentieth-Century Australia

Alistair Thomson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This article asks: what are the factors that encourage and enable, or require and force, some fathers to reduce employment and stay home with children? It draws upon a conceptual model which examines how ‘gender cultures’ and ‘gender systems’ shape ‘gender arrangements’ of work and family life. The article uses evidence from oral history interviews conducted with men who were stay-at-home fathers in late-twentieth-century Australia. It concludes that when Australian families negotiated decisions about who would stay home with young children, economic forces were usually more influential than gender ideals. Yet the oral history accounts also show what fathers, and their families, could gain when men took on a shared and central role in the care of their children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-553
Number of pages20
JournalGender and History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

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