Summary - Equal shares?

The distribution of work and care among same-sex couples

Original title: Gelijk verdeeld?

Studies of heterosexual couples consistently show that men do more hours of paid work and women still take on the majority of care tasks. This finding suggests that gender is still a major determinant of the division of labour. This report, the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) examines the role of gender by comparing the division of labour among heterosexual couples, with that among same-sex couples. We conducted a literature review, a quantitative study based on survey data, and a small qualitative research among twelve same-sex couples.

The results suggest that same-sex couples share paid work and unpaid care tasks more equally than heterosexual couples. Moreover, the results suggest that men and women who cohabit with a partner of the same sex are less likely to conform to gendered expectations. For instance, women with a female partner work seven hours per week more in paid employment, than women who live with a man. At the same time, women work fewer hours than men, irrespective of the gender of their partners. The couples who were interviewed emphasized the importance of an equal division of labour. In their perceptions they were free not to conform to gender stereotypes.