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Still a woman's job: the division of housework in couples living with dementia

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Abstract:

Progress towards gender equality within intimate relationships has been slow, evident in the persistent unequal division of household labour. Previous studies have primarily focused on non-disabled couples, but research into couples where women were physically disabled has similarly shown a lack of gender equity in housework. However, there was a gap in the evidence in relation to whether men do more housework when women develop dementia. This article presents findings from a qualitative study in England, which explored the everyday decisions made by married couples where one partner had dementia. The author examines the division of labour within the couples and identifies whether women exercised any control over who did the housework. As it was found that men were often reluctant to undertake housework when their wives developed dementia, the author concludes that gender inequality in domestic labour tends to persist, irrespective of cognitive disability.

Keywords: DECISION MAKING; DEMENTIA; EQUALITY; GENDER; HOUSEWORK

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/204674313X664671

Publication date: March 1, 2013

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