Descriptive norms about gender equality at home were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

In a cross-national investigation published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, F. M. Saxler with LEVYNA’s E. Kundtová Klocová and other colleagues show that the COVID-19 pandemic affected young people’s normative beliefs about unpaid domestic work; and that this effect is stronger in countries with greater gender inequality.

16 Feb 2024

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How do societal changes affect norms about gender like domestic work redistribution? How do social norms develop and change? The authors of the study used online and lab questionnaires in 19 universities across 15 countries to see how university students regarded mothers’ relative to fathers’ share of housework and childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. By comparing two independent samples (pre-pandemic vs. pandemic), they discovered that the students viewed mothers as even greater household contributors during the pandemic, particularly so in countries with larger gender gaps.

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