POSTED BY: Jim Ittenbach | December 21, 2009
A new study published by The University of Western Ontario reveals that couples who share the responsibility for paid and unpaid work report higher average measures of happiness and life satisfaction than those in other family models.
The ‘shared roles’ category, where each partner’s unpaid work is within 40-60 per cent of the total unpaid work, is a growing category that now represents more than 25 percent of respondents. Couples are more likely to be in a shared roles model when women have more resources and when the couple is less religious.
The ‘complementary-traditional family’ model – with men doing more paid work and women doing more unpaid work – is declining, but remains the largest category.
Researchers suggest that the shared roles model is advantageous to society in terms of gender equity and its ability to maximize labor force participation by all adults. It also leaves women less vulnerable in the case of separation, divorce or death of a spouse.
The study was conducted as part of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council-funded Population Change and Lifecourse Strategic Knowledge Cluster, a national network based at Western.