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Julie Landour, sociologist: “Men’s teleworking does not call into question the organization of domestic and parental tasks”


Does teleworking change the sharing of tasks within the couple? Do fathers who work at home take on more domestic and parental tasks than those who work outside? To find out, Julie Landour, lecturer in sociology at PSL Paris-Dauphine University and researcher at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research in the Social Sciences, conducted in 2020, with seven other researchers, a qualitative survey in France. , Sweden and Switzerland funded by the National Research Agency.

At the end of this investigation published by the Foundation for Social Sciences, the sociologist observes significant contrasts between the three countries. “The transformation of working conditions alone, and in particular its location within homes, is not sufficient to act on the gendered division of labor”she analyzes.

You believe that the sharing of domestic and parental tasks is at the heart of gender equality. For what ?

The issue of division of labor is one of the keys to gender equality. For a man or a woman to devote time and energy to their professional activity, they must, at the same time, be able to “produce” daily activities: preparing food, cleaning the laundry, doing the housework, taking care of children. However, this work relies heavily on women, who spend twice as much time as men caring for children or a dependent adult at home. They cannot therefore invest themselves in the professional sphere or in the public sphere as much as their spouses.

Until the task-sharing equation is resolved, women will find it difficult to fully engage in their careers, in politics, and in creative or recreational pursuits. Their activity rate is high – 67% of French women aged 15 to 64 have a professional activity – but domestic inequalities, which set in as soon as they form a couple, explode with the arrival of the first, second and above all of the third child: nearly 40% of women in employment experience a change in their professional activity after a first birth, nearly 60% after the third child. Many of them, particularly the least privileged, are forced to give up their professional activity and then find it difficult to get back to work.

Why did you become interested in the issue of teleworking?

Before the health crisis of 2020, I devoted a survey to women who create businesses, the “mompreneurs”. Most of them carry out their professional activity at home, in more or less equipped spaces, because they want both to invest in their work and to be present with their children. However, they are very quickly absorbed, even drowned, in parental and domestic work: their spouses tend to exempt themselves from it on the grounds that their wives spend their days at home.

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