Futuribles Journal n° 285

Entreprises, travail - Population - Société, modes de vie

Division sexuelle des tâches. Les expériences françaises et suédoises


Dominique Anxo undertakes here a comparative study of the sexual distribution of time use (professional, domestic, parental) in France and Sweden. He argues that, even if there have been some changes in recent years, in both countries the division of tasks still has a strong sexual bias, with women still spending more time than men on domestic activities and parenting.
Nevertheless, Swedish couples turn out to be more egalitarian in the allocation of tasks than their French counterparts. Among the critical factors responsible for this, Anxo identifies the Swedish employment policy, which allows for a "negotiated flexibility" throughout the life cycle, as well as childcare arrangements for infants which he argues are key, since the presence of pre-school children (i.e. under 3 years old) plays a major role in determining how women organize their time, in both the home and their jobs. Lastly, this (slight) advantage of Sweden over France (and many other countries) as regards the sexual division of activities is also linked to the high level of education and salaries of women in Sweden: total household income and wide differentials in pay scales between men and women heighten the inequalities in this area.
As well as a vivid analysis of male/female disparities, Dominique Anxo therefore suggests some ways of reducing the highly unequal division of labour between the sexes.

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