The Luxury of Time: Can Single Parents Afford to "Do Gender"?

Peter D. Brandon, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)
Colin Gruner, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)

Gender theorists argue individuals act out their lives following gender-prescribed expectations of behavior, a practice commonly referred to as “doing gender.” Accordingly, males invest more time in paid work and females spend more time in unpaid labor. To find support for this argument, scholars have turned to time use data. Presently, studies consistently indicate that there are gender-prescribed behaviors. However, a fundamental gap in the time use literature is that studies focus mainly upon two-parent families even though over 25% of families are headed by single parents. Whether the doing gender argument holds for single parents remains an open question. We address this using data from the American Time Use Survey. Contrary to the doing gender perspective, we find that single fathers do not live their lives according to gender-prescribed expectations. The only support we find for doing gender is single mother’s greater time spent on housework.

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Presented in Poster Session 9: Children and Youth; Data and Methods