Kalabikhina I. E., Rebrey S. M. Household chores amid pandemic: Russia’s case, p. 65-77

The article analyzes the impact of pandemic on gender time allocation at the household in Russia. The research is based on statistical analysis of the survey conducted on the “Yandex. Glance” platform in May, 22—23.05, 2020. Our hypotheses are as follows: 1) during the period of self-isolation, the amount of time spent by women on household chores and childcare increased; 2) currently men who increase their contribution to the household are more likely to “help” their wives, but not replace them in different types of domestic work, that is, they work “together with women”, but not “instead of women”; 3) the distance work has potential to contribute to the egalitarian family, opening a window of opportunity for a more flexible decision-making on the time-allocation between the market and the household. The pandemic impact on time allocation of Russian households has gender specifics and requires, accordingly, gender studies. The study confirms the thesis that quarantine has altered the daily routine of Russian women more than men. Women began to spend significantly more time on domestic work, while the growth of male contribution was less. Considering unequal pandemic impact on the asymmetric gender allocation of household responsibilities, it can be argued that pandemic led to an overload of women, especially those who switched to distance work, and had to combine work and motherhood amid closed child care and schools. Steady income and distance work of Russian women correlated with such variables like the sector of employment, distance work experience, the size of the town and the size of the enterprise. An unexpected correlation appeared to be the joint transition to the distance work of the wife and the husband. The reallocation of household tasks rests on both economic and socio-cultural factors, with the latter still dominating in Russian families. This is especially true for families with children — in such a sample there is generally no correlation between the woman income during pandemic and the reduction of time spent on household tasks. In general, husband’s participation in domestic work can still be considered as additional, that is, husbands help their wives in housekeeping, and are not fully engaged into the daily routine. Of the three hypotheses put forward, we confirmed two — about the increased burden on a woman and the predominance of help to wives from men, as opposed to independent contribution to homework. Nevertheless, distance employment, in our opinion, has the potential for increased egalitarianism in the case of expanding distance opportunities for men and changing the public gender order, which assigns responsibility only to women for homework.
read in PDF>>>