When any couple has a child, a common concern pertains to the division of labor. Who will cook? Who will clean? Who will bring our child to the doctor? Some heterosexual couples believe that the partner with the least resources (income, education, etc.) and the partner who spends the least amount of time at work should be responsible for the unpaid household and childcare duties. Other heterosexual couples base decisions according to more traditional gender roles with women focusing on domestic duties and childcare. So, how do gay couples divide the labor at home?
In one study, the researchers recruited 335 male couples with children and assessed each couple’s style of labor division. Gay couples reported having a primarily egalitarian division of labor, meaning that both partners were equally responsible for maintaining the family. When both partners could not contribute evenly, they heavily supported the idea that the partner with the most leftover time should primarily complete household chores and care for their children. Although different approaches work for different families, heterosexual couples seem to be more influenced by traditional gender roles, whereas gay couples seem to strive for a more fair division of household labor and childcare based upon the needs and strengths of the couple.
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Tornello, S. L., Sonnenberg, B. N., & Patterson, C. J. (2015). Division of labor among gay fathers: Associations with parent, couple, and child adjustment. Psychology Of Sexual Orientation And Gender Diversity, 2(4), 365-375. doi:10.1037/sgd0000109