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Economic Dependency, Gender, and the Division of Labor at Home

Why does housework remain "women's work"? Some scholars argue that economic dependency comples wives to exchange unpaid labor for a share of the husband's income. Others claim that wives perform housework-and husbands avoid it-to enact symbolically their femininity or masculinity. This article examines both perspectives and finds that among wives the link between housework and the transfer of earnings in marriage complies with rules of economic exchange. However, the more a husband relies on his wife for economic support, the less housework he does. It appears that by doing less housework, economically dependent husbands also "dogender."