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Abstract

The present study addressed gender inequality in unpaid domestic housework and childcare activities and its presumed impact on childbearing decisions in Iran. We used the second Iran’s Time Use Study (2014-2015), representing the urban population to investigate how the number of small children (aged seven and lower) affected the time devoted to unpaid domestic housework as well as childcare activities of urban employed couples in Iran.

The univariate analysis provided sufficient evidence of increasing workload with the number of small children for employed women, while men’s workload remained almost unchanged across all parities. The results indicated that an increase in the number of small children significantly increased the workload of urban employed women, while men’s meager participation in such chores suggested the existence of a significant gender gap in these activities. For example, urban employed men with no small children spent 8 hours and 43 minutes while those with one or two small children spent 8 hours and 40 minutes on paid and unpaid domestic work. In comparison, employed women with no small children spent 9 hours and 7 minutes, while those with one small child spent 9 hours and 20 minutes, and those with two small children spent 9 hours and 45 minutes on mentioned activities. Thus, the gender inequality in allocated time to paid and unpaid work peaked at 1 hour and 5 minutes in families with two and more small children. Based on the data presented, it can be concluded that along with an increasing amount of unpaid work a less gender egalitarian division of labor exists. Gender inequality in unpaid domestic work among employed couples might lead to continued low fertility and an even further reduction of it in the future in Iran.

Note on the Author

Mahmoud Ghazi Tabatabaei is a professor in Health and Social Demography at the University of Tehran, Iran. He is a visiting professor in the Department of Sociology at Utah State University, USA. His areas of interest include family demography, gender-based inequalities, Health, advanced statistical and quantitative techniques.

Nader Mehri got his M.A. in Demography from the University of Tehran, Iran. Currently, he is a doctoral student in Social Gerontology at Miami University. His areas of interest include family demography, informal family caregiving, health and mortality.

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