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Happiness, Housework and Gender Inequality in Europe

Mencarini, L. and M. Sironi (2010). “Happiness, Housework and Gender Inequality in Europe.” European Sociological Review.
Although the last few decades have seen a progressive increase of gender equality in almost all dimensions of society, roles concerning childcare and domestic work remain highly gender-specific. Gender division of labour within the family varies considerably within and across countries. Gender systems are likely to have an important impact on individuals’ well-being. Improved gender equality has enhanced the general well-being of women, although its extent may depend on the context in which women live and operate. This work considers the effect of the unequal division of labour within the household, between women and their partners, on women’s own subjective assessment of happiness. We conducted the analysis using the European Social Survey data. We included 26 European countries and explored, exploiting a multi-level model to investigate the determinants of, women’s differing levels of happiness across countries. In particular, we examined the extent to which gender equality at the country level can explain variation in happiness at the individual level.

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