Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Gender Division of Domestic Labor in Post-Socialist Europe (1994–2012): Test of Class Gradients Hypothesis

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Abstract:  This article analyzes changes in the gender division of domestic labor (GDDL) in post-socialist Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), an under-researched region characterized by high levels of inequality in GDDL from 1994–2012. Drawing on the literature on class gradients in the contribution of the genders to domestic labor and their change over time, the article answers two questions: How has GDDL (operationalized as men’s relative involvement into routine housework) changed in CEE in the post-socialist period? What has been the role of class (operationalized as respondents’ education and household income) in shaping GDDL in CEE in the post-socialist period? Data for the article comes from the 1994, 2002, and 2012 waves of the International Social Survey Program on Family and Changing Gender Roles from six CEE countries, i.e., Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Russia, and Slovenia. The findings suggest that net of individual and interactional-level factors, inequality in GDDL in the CEE region did not change substantially during the post-socialist period. The analysis also shows, however, that trends of inequality in GDDL among different classes were idiosyncratic, and this underlay the overall lack of movement towards greater equality.

Keywords:  CEE; domestic labor; gender inequality; housework; post-socialism


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© Daria Ukhova. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.