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The Internet and the gender division of household labour


  • The information, practices and views in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).


Geographers and others have long since examined the distribution of paid work, childcare and housework within households and have more recently begun to explore the various effects of Internet use on everyday life and digital inequalities along lines of gender and other social markers. These lines of inquiry have so far remained largely separate and this paper brings them together by analysing the interrelations between the Internet and the gender division of household labour. Multi-group structural equation modelling is applied to dedicated survey data collected among heterosexual couples in Columbus (Ohio, USA). The results demonstrate that Internet use is gendered in many ways. Variations in Internet use are explained by a broader range of factors for women than for men, and an unequal division of domestic responsibilities within the household constrains women's Internet use but not men's. Overall, however, the relations between Internet use and the gender division of household labour are modest. The latter is related in different ways for women and men to the residential location, the household situation, the employment situation and gender-specific interactions among paid work, childcare and housework.