Making research, good practices, learning activities and events on intercultural dialogue in the Euro-Mediterranean accessible to everyone.


In Pursuit of Equality: Perception of Justice and Household Work Division – Changes and Continuities

Lígia Amâncio, Rita B. Correia
CIES - Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia
Year of Publication

Aiming at the identification of possible changes in the division of household work in 12 year time, measured by average number of hours dedicated to household work per week, this article analyses the gender division of household work, as well as women’s and men’s perceptions of how fair this division is. Data collected in ISSP (International Social Survey Programme) surveys on family and gender of 2002 and 2012 (2014 in Portugal) are compared. In the first part of the article recent social research in Portugal is discussed, integrating the division of household work in other dimensions of the structure of gender relations in order to frame the level and quality of gender equality achievements. Our conclusion is that, in spite of the great changes undergone in the last decades in Portugal, the persistence of a traditional gender ideology sets some limits to the modernization of Portuguese society.

The analysis of domestic work in light of gender ideology is a key contribution to understanding the uniqueness of the Portuguese case. Its significance lies in persistent evidence of gender asymmetries in a society marked by transformative shifts in women's participation in employment and education, along with progressive legislation for equal rights and improved work-life balance. The core question is whether reduced dependence through professional activity and enhanced qualifications ensures gender equality. Family dynamics, including domestic work division, impact the emotional and symbolic dimensions of gender, broadening the perspective on changes in gender relations in Portuguese society. The article reviews recent social science research, aiming to integrate domestic work into gender relations, emphasizing change extent and contributing to diagnosing gender equality. The second part analyzes time allocation for domestic work by men and women, comparing ISSP surveys on family and gender in 2002 and 2014, focusing on changes or continuities over 12 years.