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Challenging tradition: the rise of the male homemaker

Date: 05/04/2011

A University of Western Sydney study will investigate how men in 'reversed-role families' perceive housework as well as their own masculine identities.

Deborah Wilmore, a PhD candidate from the School of Social Sciences, is asking for male homemakers to share their experiences and perceptions of housework.

"Domestic labour studies conducted all over the world consistently indicate that regardless of education level or time spent in paid employment, women do a greater amount of housework than men, particularly in heterosexual married relationships," says Ms Wilmore.

"Traditional divisions of domestic work are understood to persist because of the strong association of the home with femininity and paid work with masculinity - to challenge who does what in the home is arguably tantamount to challenging what it is to be a woman or a man."

Over the last decade statistics suggest contemporary families are increasingly challenging traditional arrangements and men are increasingly giving up paid employment to take up the homemaker role.

Research has begun to explore men's changing involvement in family life, but these studies have tended to focus on men's work as fathers rather than as homemakers.

"Reducing the scope of domestic labour to childcare perpetuates the separation of men from domestic work as a whole and it essentially trivialises the influence it may play in not only changing ideas about the home but also about masculinity," says Ms Wilmore.

"Men who are at home for the majority of a working week present an excellent avenue in which to explore how gender relations may be changing."

Participants will be required to be 18 years or older, male, heterosexual and currently married or living in a de-facto relationship. They must presently identify as a homemaker or have identified as a homemaker in the past 5 years.

To identify as a homemaker the participants must have, or have had, sole responsibility for the running of their household and any children (if any) for a minimum of 25 hours per working week (Monday-Friday 8.00am - 6.00pm).

If potential participants would like any further information they can contact Deborah Wilmore via email, or phone (02) 9772 6317 for further information.


Media Officer
Kristy Gleeson
02 9678 7085, 0410 564 803

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