Unfolding Patterns of Unpaid Household Work in Latin America

VerĂ³nica Amarante and Cecilia Rossel

Although Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay show similar empirical patterns in terms of time women devote to unpaid work, they also present important variations in how unpaid work is distributed between men and women. Using time-use surveys for the 2007–10 period, this study finds a uniform pattern across the four countries regarding the main individual-level variables related to the allocation of unpaid work. When decomposing the gender gap in hours devoted to unpaid work, most of the difference cannot be attributed to variations in observable characteristics of men and women: the unexplained part of the gap is the dominant part. Results suggest that both the strength of traditional gender roles and existing welfare architecture are relevant factors in understanding variations in how unpaid work is distributed between men and women in these four countries. The results reaffirm that powerful interventions are needed to shift gender norms about unpaid work.

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